Category Archives: Membership

6 Things Incoming PR Majors Should Know

By Heather Pruitt

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the opportunity to become a Group Leader as a part of Eastern Michigan University’s Orientation program. As someone who loves interacting with people, and has a passion for Eastern, working this job has become one of my favorite things to do.

However, my favorite part about being an Orientation Group Leader is getting to know the incoming students. I am excited for them to find their place at Eastern, just as I have found mine, and to start writing their own story while they’re at college.

I enjoy talking with all students at FastTrack (the segment of orientation where students register for classes) but nothing gets me more excited than meeting a future PR major. Even though I have only encountered a handful, I am incredibly excited for everything that they are about to experience when they start PR at EMU.

While I am excited to see the students start their journey at Eastern, there is nothing that I want to do more than to tell them everything I wish I had known when I started. But with one short day, it can be a little intense for incoming students to register for classes, get their first taste of college, and be bombarded with advice about their program all in one day. So I decided to create a list of the six things I wish I knew about PR as an incoming freshman.

Learn to love writing.

When I started the program, I expected to exclusively be planning events, posting on social media, and standing up in front of my class giving presentations about the future of Facebook. While these aspects are apart of the Public Relations program, I was in the dark about how important writing is in the world of PR. Press releases, feature articles, crafting newsletters, and blog posts, are all incredibly important parts of PR. So learn to love writing, learn to love your writing, because it will become an important part of your life.

Start networking from the beginning

Within the first few weeks of starting my freshman year, I decided to join PRSSA. I’ll be honest- joining PRSSA freaked me out because I had to learn to network and get acclimated to college life. How was I, an 18-year-old, who was stressed about finding new friends, supposed to network with professionals for a career that was years away? I found that having someone in the program who I felt comfortable asking questions to, and getting help from, was reassuring. They can help ease any worries you have about entering the world of PR. Additionally, the earlier your start networking, the more people you come in contact with, which can benefit you in the long run.

Join PRSSA

Joining PRSSA is great way to start networking and to learn about PR. It allows you to learn how to network, as well as give you information about subjects that are relevant to the PR world. Joining PRSSA also gives you the chance for great leadership opportunities in and out of the organization.

Invest in a ‘professional outfit’

When I started college, I had no idea what clothes would identify as ‘business casual’. I didn’t even know when or why I would need them! I found that it is important to invest in clothing that is appropriate for the occasion. While it may not be frequent when you start college, there will be occasions that require you to dress in business casual and possibly business professional. Make sure that you are prepared and have outfits that fit criteria. Having the wrong outfit can leave the wrong impression! However, if you are unsure about what outfits are business casual or business professional, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest!

Make time to do a little PR everyday.

Make an investment to look at a PR blog a few times a week to stay updated with the ever changing world of PR. There are some professors who like to use current events as teaching points for their classes. When you are up to date, it gives you an advantage to speak up in class, and really helps fuel class discussions. Additionally, if you don’t have a lot of time I recommend subscribing to Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is an online database that helps journalists with upcoming stories. They send you emails several times a day with topics that are relevant. This is a great way to stay updated on current trends.

Set out a timeline of how you want things to go.

It is one thing to know that there are goals you want to accomplish in college, however, it is another thing to achieve those goals. Create a timeline of what you want to do in your college career, and set dates to accomplish those goals by.

Heather Pruitt is a junior majoring in Public Relations. This is her first year serving as VP of Member Relations.

Why you should join PRSSA

At our kickoff meeting on Tuesday, we spent time talking about what PRSSA is, what the organization to current and prospective members. We also made sure to talk to these students about the benefits of a PRSSA membership. We also had a great time mingling and eating some delicious Dominos’s Pizza!

picstitch

Take a look at our recap of everything we went over at our kickoff meeting.

Introductions: Our e-board introduced themselves to everyone and gave insight into what they do in their positions. To “meet” our e-board and learn more about them, visit our e-board page.

What is PRSSA?From PRSSA National: “The Public Relations Student Society of America ( PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. We seek to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals.

We advocate rigorous academic standards for public relations education, the highest ethical principles and diversity in the profession.

PRSSA is made up of mor than 11,000 students and advisors organized into more than 300 Chapters in the United States and one in Argentina.

PRSSA helps you enhance your education, broaden your network and launch your career in public relations.”

Why should you join PRSSA?There are so many great reasons to join PRSSA. By simply coming to meetings and not purchasing a membership, you do benefit from hearing our guest speakers.

But as an official EMU PRSSA member, you get access to our exclusive membership benefits! Some of these benefits include: a membership packet with helpful resources on campus, in the community and beyond and be among the first to attend agency tours and other field trips. Our members also get exclusive emails about internships in the southeastern Michigan community. There’s also this little thing called Membership Points that you earn only as an official, paid member.

Learn more about PRSSA benefits here in this PowerPoint from PRSSA National.

If you have any questions or concerns about PRSSA Membership, please contact our Vice President of Member Relations Misha Byrd or our President Emily Vontom.

Why not join PRSSA this fall?

There are many reasons why public relations students at Eastern Michigan University should join PRSSA. It should be common sense that a student group focusing on a major could be quite beneficial to anyone in that particular area of study.

It would be useful for other students, also.

Communications and journalism majors would have also have incentive to join a club that could add knowledge and skills to their professions. PR is a growing field that overlaps and encompasses many different job positions, and a better understanding of how it works would be smiled upon by most potential employers.

That is a main point I attempt to stress here to students considering joining PRSSA: do you have enough of a resume built already to not need a PRSSA membership?

The answer is “no.”

There are many different incentives why someone should join this group. The most solid reason is it will help out most resumes tremendously after a student graduates. The competition for jobs is still stiff, and everyone needs to try everything possible to better oneself in the eyes of an employer.

The job market is still shaky, and everyone needs a leg up on the competition. Most college students don’t have a very beefed up resume, and an active PRSSA member with a recommendation letter could catch an employer’s attention. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Source: PRSSA

Source: PRSSA

Another great thing about PRSSA is the option to be as active as your schedule allows. There are meetings twice a month and a lot of trips and activities, but very little is mandatory. E-board members have a bit more responsibility, but those positions are only available to those who run for them. (If you’re interested in joining the EMU PRSSA e-board, a special election will be held this fall to fill our last vacant position – Editor-in-Chief! More information to come soon!)

PRSSA provides information about a booming job field that can be useful and insightful. However, it also provides students with another outlet to become more socially active. Eastern’s PRSSA Chapter is always looking for new faces at their meetings, and anyone who’s tired of watching TV or playing video games should get off the couch and partake in something more stimulating and worthwhile.

Simply, college is what you make out of it. If you are tired of sitting in your dorm room, join a student group and meet new people. There are plenty of motivated and bright people at EMU, but you aren’t going to find them unless you make an effort and sacrifice a bit of personal time.

There is a fee to join, and Tuesday nights are not always free on everyone’s schedules. But, the chance to be recognized by a nationally recognized student group is an opportunity most college scholars let pass. When sitting in front of a potential employer with a skimpy resume, most wish they hadn’t.

The fall semester is nearly upon us. Let this be the year you take advantage of everything EMU has to offer, and don’t hesitate to try something new. Student groups, like PRSSA, are a good place to start. Not only will you meet new peers, but you will be working towards the goal of becoming successful in your field of study. Sounds like a “win-win” situation to me.

Ken Bowen
Vice President
EMU PRSSA

What PRSSA Has Taught Me

Photo Courtesy of emsincorporated.com

It’s been two years since I became a member of PRSSA.

When I first joined, I never expected to get so much out of being a part of this organization. I am so grateful to be a member of this group as the friendships and experiences I’ve gained will last me a lifetime.

Here’s a summary of what PRSSA has taught me over the years and hopefully, these lessons will inspire our current members.

Spread your wings and fly

  • When I joined PRSSA I was incredibly critical and self conscious about my work. I didn’t feel like my contributions would add up to much since I was so new to the field. But with the encouragement of the PR advisors and my PRSSA friends, I started volunteering more within the group and I even ran for the newsletter editor position! It didn’t take long for the quality of my work to strengthen and for me to gain confidence about my abilities in PR. I am so grateful for the support I received from the chapter; I couldn’t have done it without them!

Networking is priceless

  • Because of PRSSA, I’ve been able to meet so many amazing and talented PR professionals! I feel extremely honored to know them-they have taught me so much and have greatly inspired me. These networking opportunities definitely would not have come up if I wasn’t a PRSSA member. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is this: don’t be afraid to reach out to PR professionals-most are happy to help you with your questions and you could end up making a great friend!

Team work makes the dream work

  • This year’s e-board and members made an amazing team! We worked so hard with one another and because of that, we were able to accomplish so much! I’ve seen such a transformation within our chapter and I can tell that it’s going to continue to grow and prosper. I really believe that we can become one of the top chapters in the country!

Opportunities are what you make of them

  • No one will notice you if you attend an event and not get involved. Be involved! Make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities you are given as a PRSSA member! You never know what could happen!
Laura Taylor
Editor-in-Chief
EMU PRSSA

Eisbrenner Tour Gives PR Students an In-Depth Look at Life at an Agency

Photo Courtesy of eisbrenner.com

If you didn’t get a chance to come to the Eisbrenner Public Relations agency tour in Royal Oak, you missed out on an excellent opportunity to widen your scope on the PR industry.

This type of experience is the reason I joined PRSSA at Eastern Michigan University and was worth the $60 membership fee alone. We were able to meet several people who work in the industry, ask them any questions we wanted, and got a feel for what it’s like work in a public relations agency environment.

The day started with a meeting to get to know some of the key members of the Eisbrenner PR team and some PR and communications students from Wayne State University. We then broke up into small groups and the Eisbrenner members ran different stations to teach us about the various hats that a PR practitioner must wear.

My group was first shown the differences between working at an agency and a corporate environment. Vice president of Eisbrenner, Steve Blow, and other staff members answered questions and told us about the positives and negatives about working on both sides of the industry. Steve made it clear that working in an agency is perfect for people that love multitasking and love doing something different on a day-to-day basis.

We also learned what goes into planning business-to-business events. We were thrust into a typical brainstorming meeting that takes place at Eisbrenner and learned some unique ways that a PR practitioner can plan an event.

Eisenbrenner staff members discussed how important social media is to what they do. We talked about how we as students use Twitter and Facebook and how the use of social media changes in the business world.  The use of LinkedIn and other social media outlets were also described and the importance of networking was highlighted.

Photo Courtesy of prworldasweknowit.wordpress.com

One of the best parts of the day was the discussion about what PR agencies look for in resumes and the interviewing process. I brought my resume and was delighted to have one of the staff members edit it for me! These are the types of things that are valuable as I begin the job-hunting process. Getting interviewing and resume tips from the Eisbrenner team definitely made me a more confident job seeker.

The day wrapped up discussing media relations. To me, this was the best discussion of the day, but I am biased, since I have worked on the other side as a journalist.  I loved how the importance of developing positive and trusting relationships with the media was stressed. Steve also gave us examples of what he has done in the past to develop relationships with journalists in and around the Detroit area.

The only thing I was disappointed with about the Eisbrenner agency tour was leaving! This appeared to be an awesome working environment and a place that I will keep in mind for an internship as I move forward towards graduation. The experience of the tour gave me real-life examples of the things I am learning in Eastern Michigan’s PR program. I can now visualize and apply the things I am learning into a real-life platform.

If you are a student that hopes to work in the public relations or communications field when you leave Eastern, you must join PRSSA to get these types of experiences!  It is blatantly obvious to me that these types of experiences will give me an advantage when it comes to finding and getting a great job in the future. The Eisbrenner tour was an experience that just can’t be duplicated in the classroom! I want to personally thank the members of the Eisbrenner team for a wonderful day that will help shape the direction of my career.

If you are serious about a career in PR and are not a member of PRSSA, you need to come to a general meeting and learn more about what you are missing!

Sam Plymale
Guest Blogger
EMU PRSSA Member