Tips for the graduating student

By: Rachel Dwornick



Recently I read an article titled “8 Fears I Have About Graduating College.” (To read the article click here!) All the things listed in the article were fears every college student has, but when thinking about public relations and what advice the mentors provided me at Speed Mentoring I realized I can make it through graduation. These 10 tips are pieces of advice I found to be most helpful with graduation right around the corner.

 1. “Every little job can lead to more.”

 Shelley from the Chelsea Wellness Center talked about the importance of making the most of our current and future jobs. She told us that even that part-time job can lead to more, or can give us experience for future jobs.

 2. “You learn if you are an agency or a corporate person quickly.”

I think this tip is very true and pretty self-explanatory, but it is important to note that you shouldn’t just write off a job at an agency or a corporation at first. It is important to experience both to find what you like. I really enjoyed this article about the differences between corporate and agency PR.

 3.“Writing samples are key!”

 Marisa Bradley, who is the consumer and broadcast communications manager for Ford, stressed the importance of writing samples. Bradley said to not just provide samples of press releases, but also provide samples of tweets, posts and infographics also.

 4.“Social is a big business.”

 Kelly LaVaute is the managing supervisor of social media for Chevrolet at Fleishman-Hillard. LaVaute focused a lot on social media and stressed that social media is growing and is a big business, so it is important to understand and know.

 5.“Relationships with media are still crucial.”

 While social media is big business, relationships with the media are still crucial. Bradley talked about the importance of keeping those relationships because as PR professionals we still need the media. I couldn’t agree more with Bradley. We must still keep or build those relationships with the media to be successful PR professionals.

6.“Don’t stay at one place.”

 Alan D. Hall, who is the communications manager of technology research and innovation for Ford, talked about his journey to become a PR practitioner and said that it is normal to switch jobs and find what you love. Don’t just say at one place, find what you love and where you love.

 7. “Be flexible.”

 It is important to always be flexible, especially when working with clients. LaVaute said things may not go as planned and you have to learn how to handle these situations, especially in the digital age and with social media. Social media is experimental and you have to learn what works for your client or company, said LaVaute. I agree with LaVaute that we must always be flexible as PR professionals. This is a great article on how to use social media successfully.

 8.“The communications world is changing.”

We hear in all our PR classes that communications and the PR world is always changing. We see this in the way the world of social media has developed, but I think it is something we can’t forget. Bradley stressed the importance of never stop learning and continuing your education, even when you are in the PR field.

 9. “Give and receive feedback.”

 LaVaute talked about not only giving feedback but also receiving feedback. It is important to learn how to take feedback, make changes if needed, and grow from it. You must also not be afraid to give feedback to others. I believe that feedback is how we learn, and this is important for any new PR professional starting out in the field.

10.“Turn your mistake into an opportunity.”

 The last and most important piece of advice I received was to turn your mistake into an opportunity. You always have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and at the end of the day we all make mistakes. Instead of focusing on that mistake turn it into an opportunity to learn and grow.

As we head off to graduation and the nerves sink in about what I am going to do next I believe it is important to remember these tips. Graduating from college you may not have it all figured out but I don’t believe you have to. The PR world is ever changing. Give yourself time to find what you love to do.

Rachel Dwornick is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations with a minor in communications. She holds the position of Member Relations in PRSSA and is an active member of Alpha Xi Delta. Follow her on Twitter at @racheldwornick.


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