By: Irene Pool
Eastern Michigan University Public Relations Student Society of America has opened up so many opportunities for me. I am currently Vice President of Public Relations for our organization and 2016 Bateman Team Leader. Not only am I gaining experience from the positions that I hold but I’m also given the opportunity to go to great networking opportunities and get advice from professionals in the field.
EMU PRSSA offers events for their members like agency tours, informative workshops, social outings, Student Development Conference and Speed Mentoring. During EMU PRSSA’s annual Speed Mentoring event that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 16, students going into public relations and similar fields had the opportunity to sit down and talk with mentors in the field. Mentors gave plenty of advice and came from many different organizations. The list included:
- Shelley Hehr, sales/marketing, Chelsea Wellness Center
- Linda Girard, founder, CEP, Pure Visibility
- Andrea Bajaj, college recruiter, Quicken Loans
- Kelly LaVaute, EIC of SM, Chevy
- Sam Plymale, development, City of Plymouth
- Denise Murray, marketing, Briarwood Mall
- Kevin Kennedy, Campbell Marketing
- Jenni Placinta, SS Digital Media
- Alan Hall, Manager, technology, research and innovation communications, Ford Motor Company
- Marisa Bradley, manager, consumer and broadcast communications, Ford Motor Company
For a student who is looking for a summer internship, I veered my questions towards that topic. The advice I was given was very helpful and will definitely allow me to stand out from others.
The two mentors from Ford Motor Company were Alan Hall and Marisa Bradley. They both gave similar advice when it comes to the interview process and starting off your career:
Finding your niche
Do you want to work in an agency? Corporate setting? Through school and internships, you have to use that opportunity to find what you have interest in because every workplace has a different setting.
Be aggressive! Use your internship as a great opportunity to learn as much as you can. Take full advantage of all the writing opportunities from your classes so you can build your portfolio. An internship is a great way to show off your skills to your employer. Stand out from the other interns and always ask what needs to be completed next. It all comes down to being a reliable but creative and fun employee to work with.
In the end I really appreciate the advice I received from Andrea Bajaj who is a college recruiter from Quicken Loans. She described what her company looks for but suggested that it is always helpful to be this way when looking into different companies. Stand out and be bubbly! Make a great impression in your internships and learn as much as you can. When creating a portfolio be able to show how you left a footprint. For example, if you run any organizations’ social media accounts, be able to show how effective your posts were.
Speed Mentoring was a great opportunity for me to speak face-to-face with professionals and also meet other students. I would recommend this event in a heartbeat!
Irene Pool is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. This is her first year in EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She was drawn to social media because she likes being able to connect with others in many different ways. Irene is an outgoing person who enjoys learning something new every day. She loves finding the beauty in the world and facing new challenges.