What I’ve Gained In My First Year in PRSSA

For those of you out there who have heard of us but don’t really know what we do, this blog may give you a push in the right direction. My name is Cortney, I am a senior at EMU and I have been a part of PRSSA for just one school year- and it has completely changed my college career and my life for the better. I went from having no clue what PRSSA was, to an active member, to holding a spot on the executive board. When I sat down to think about everything that I have gained from PRSSA, it was very tough to categorize because there is just so much. I did my best to arrange everything I have gained, learned and experienced in just one school year, into a format that is easy to follow.

This is not a sales pitch or an advertisement, but rather a personal experience as to why a membership in ANY student organization could be pertinent to your future. But hey, if you read this and want to join PRSSA, I would not blame you!

1.) I have greatly enhanced my people, communication, organization, and writing skills.

These skills begin to develop naturally as you become more involved within the organization. We are constantly planning events, meeting important people, writing documents for internal and external communication, and of course interacting with one another to make decisions and plans as a group. While I tried to balance everything I needed to do, with school and a busy personal life, I exaggerated these skills immensely. These skills are absolutely necessary for this profession and most professions for that matter, and my involvement in PRSSA has prepared me for my future career.

2.) I have met and learned from some amazing people.

This year we were lucky enough to meet some very important professionals through our planned events and tours. We were able to tour the Domino’s headquarters and learn from Tim McIntyre, the vice president of communications for Domino’s. We met several professionals from different PR firms and even some EMU communications officials. We also toured and attended a seminar put on by Eisbrenner Public Relations firm. There we learned a lot of different ways to look at PR and met many successful people who recently graduated. We even had the pleasure of learning about  the media/public relations relationship from Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh. The connections I have made with these individuals and the information about their careers is invaluable.

3.) I have boosted my resume greatly.

Having a membership in a well-known student organization, such as PRSSA, makes you more marketable when applying for jobs. Employers see your involvement as great practice and a place on the executive board is even seen by some employers as equivalent to an internship. It gives you hands-on experience to add to your resume that goes much further than the classroom. Not only does having a membership add to your resume in a credibility sense, but it also helped me to create my resume itself. A resume is usually the first impression that an employer gets of you when you’ve applied for a job. Through many different events and conferences put on by PRSSA, I have had my resume critiqued by many professionals. I am confident in the way I now look to an employer on paper, because of my professional involvement and numerous edits to my resume.

4.) I had the privilege of working alongside amazing colleagues, future networks, and most of all, friends.

Once you’re a member of PRSSA, you become a part of our family. We are always there for each other, even when we aren’t at PRSSA events. We help each other with school, giving advice on which classes to take with what teachers and ideas for projects or papers. It is so nice to have a network of people who are going through the same things you are to help guide you and influence you to make good decisions. Not to mention, we have some great mentors who give us straight forward advice that is going to help us greatly when we apply for jobs.

Overall, my experience on PRSSA has undoubtedly changed me and my career path for the better. I have learned from so many great people and now have the confidence in myself to shoot for a job I know I deserve. Without PRSSA, I would have barely tapped into the amount of PR knowledge that I have.

 

Cortney Peters
Vice President of Member Relations

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