Planning for your career

By: Natalie Burns

Whether you are graduating soon or in a couple years, you should always be prepared for the type of career you wish to pursue. As we know, public relations can be hard to define, and starting your career will have its hurdles too. You already know what you are good at, right? We are PR professionals, not scientists and doctors, that’s why we chose this amazing field in the first place. (I don’t know about you, but my expertise was never math). Finding out your strengths and utilizing them will get you a lot farther than you think. The first job out of college is an important one, but remember, it’s your first job! It doesn’t have to be forever, but you should plan ahead, strategize, and set realistic goals.

 Finding Out What You Are Good At

Well of course you are good with people! But really dig deep. What do you really love about this profession? There is a lot to choose from, but start with what you sincerely enjoy. Do you like planning events? Are you organized? Do you have a knack for problem solving? I know that there is still a lot to learn, but I also know that there is something that you really enjoy. If it wasn’t for my PR professors, fellow colleagues and internships, I would have been a lot more lost than I am today. Talk to people and get hands-on experience.

Making Connections

Professors, LinkedIn, PRSSA, school organizations, internships, classes, conferences and social gatherings will all help you prepare for the future. Use as many resources you can to get connected and stay connected. Perhaps it’s a previous business professor that knows the marketing manager for a local organization; maybe it’s an Eastern Michigan alumnus who works at a PR firm in Detroit. Keep emails, business cards and Twitter handles. That’s what they are there for.

Updating Your Resume Often

I know, I know, it gets old, but it really is true. Get what you pay for by utilizing your resources. There are plenty of resume building workshops and online help that can assist you in checking your resume. Applying for an internship is different than applying for a job. Many organizations will want you to have a portfolio, writing samples and references. Do you think including your front desk job as a hotel clerk is important? Maybe. That’s why getting a professional to revise your resume before sending it anywhere is vital. Times are changing, and businesses are changing the way they hire people too.

Setting Realistic Goals

 Those old papers we wrote back in high school such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years,” are long gone. I remember writing that I would be living somewhere warm, and be rich, famous and married. Well, since that life plan didn’t work out for me, it’s time to move forward. You don’t have to figure everything out in a day, month or year. Don’t be hard on yourself either! It is better to find out your passion then land a job you are trapped in. Do you want to move? Would you rather settle down? Do you want to travel? Do you want to start a family and have kids? These are all factors you should take into consideration when thinking about your future. Of course you can’t plan out everything, but getting an idea of the pros and cons about a potential career is the beginning.

Planning your career may feel like a long stretch, but that’s why we are getting an education! Of course we want to land our dream job, but we have to put in hard work. It’s a competitive world out there.

Natalie Burns is a public relations major and marketing minor. Her writing, communication, and multitasking skills have allowed her to do especially well in her field. She has an outgoing, bubbly personality. Natalie is currently a public relations intern at SOS Community Services in downtown Ypsilanti. She is also Chief Financial Officer of PRSSA. Connect with her via Twitter @burns_natalie and Instagram @natattack03. Follow her blog at


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