Class is back in session and you have finally decided that PR is your calling. Here are ten tips for public relations majors that will get you the grades and the job.
Define your morning (or late-night) reads
Being informed will give you an added advantage in class and in your career. Create time in your schedule, between classes, work and homework to read PR and marketing news and tips available on sites like PR Daily, PRWeek (most articles are paid, but some are free), Social Media Explorer, and Mashable. These are all great sources to learn about how current events are impacting in the industry as well companies to keep on your radar. If you are interested in the fashion industry, make sure to add WWD, Fashionista, Business of Fashion, Luxury Daily, The Daily and Fashion Wire Daily to that list. For extra credit, add Your Coffee Break, StartupFashion, NYC PR Girls and PR Diva to the list.
Get organized, your way
The new semester is the perfect time to develop time management skills that will support you in your career. If you prefer digital, start using Google Calendar to sync your activities across your devices. List your classes, PRSSA meetings, and coffee dates with friends there. If you need to scribble down your to-dos, invest in a pretty planner that will make you want to stay organized and on schedule. Apps like Evernote (pick up this how-to-use guide) are also great to start using now.
Be smart about social media
Use these last days of summer to clean up your social media profiles. While friends are nonchalantly posting embarrassing photos and letting the world know the results of five vodka-cranberries, you will have a realistic yet professional profile that is appropriate for the web. Communicate the results of school projects, networking events and internships. This is the perfect time to set-up a LinkedIn profile as well.
Take a break and #chat
When you need a diversion from homework, join a Google+ hangout for some online networking. If you’re into Fashion PR, find blogger, stylist or magazine chats to join. Or, make use of the many relevant Twitter chats that take place each week. #PRStudChat is a great way to talk about relevant issues, demonstrate your acumen and network with others, but there are a ton’s more. Check out this PR Twitter chat list from Cision.
Visit during office hours
Take time to meet with your professors outside of class. Let them know that your interest in public relations goes beyond the classroom. When possible, do independent study projects that allow you to work one-on-one with a profession and explore issues, brands and strategies that light you up. Networking professors means they will be more likely to refer you for internships and jobs upon graduation.
Your classmates will be your future connections outside of the classroom. Take advantage of professional associations (and reduced fees for students), clubs and other associations to get access to industry leaders. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and its annual conference are a total must for the PR major.
Intern intern intern
Leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding PR internships. Intern a lot, and intern well. Internships can lead to jobs and major connections. Make the most of any internship, learn all you can, and get involved in any task your boss will allow. If you don’t attend school in a place where there are a wealth of internship opportunities available for PR students, pitch yourself to an agency as a virtual intern!
Build media awareness
Familiarize yourself with bloggers, editors and magazine feature writers. Nothing is more impressive in an interview than knowing the name of a journalist. Plus, the most you know about these people ahead of time, the better prepped you will be when it is time to pitch! The PR Couture How to Pitch series is great for this.
Start a blog
Start a blog on a particular topic of interest to perfect your writing skills, connect with other bloggers, learn blogging platforms and build your social media following. Be realistic with your commitment to your blog and be consistent, like choosing to post 2 or 3 times per week. A blog is a great source for potential employers to see your writing style and interests and it’s never been easier to set one up.
Technology is your friend. Get a leg up on the competition by adding some valuable programs to your resume. Learn the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator by downloading a free 30-day trial, buying a book or taking a class. Get up to date on Cloud programs such as Google Docs, Dropbox, Ge.tt, play around in MailChimp to learn how to create e-newsletters and releases, and up your social strategy by learning social network management platforms such as HootSuite.
PS: Have a great year and remember, if you’re interested in a career in Fashion PR check out Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, and Fashion PR Confidential!
This summer we’re bringing back a few of our all-time favorite pots. A version of this post originally appeared on PR Couture in 2012.