This past Friday I attended this event called Professional Amateurs Day (Pro-Am Day) hosted by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). It was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far this year. One of the most important pieces of advice I got from one of my peers is how important networking is. You could have the best built resume, a couple internships and a 4.0 GPA but when it comes down to getting a job after school, networking is one of the key things if you are going into any field- but most importantly for someone looking for a job in the Mass Communications field.
I am not saying there isn’t a chance for job/internship opportunities with a killer resume and no connections, but it definitely helps to get your foot in the door faster, to get your resume and cover letter at the top of the list.
Leading up to Pro-Am Day I created a cover letter and perfected my resume (as if I was actually going to an interview), and did some research on the company I was assigned too, Padilla Speer Beardley. On the day of I arrived at Padilla around 8:30 to meet with Tracy, the Media Relations Manager and the professional I was assigned to that day. We got to know each other a little bit before we went off into a bigger group. I spent the morning hearing from so many different people on what they do for their job, and advice on how we can get ahead. The two things I heard again and again to make it in the PR industry was: exceptional writing skills and your networking capabilities. Now of course when I heard “exceptional” writing, of course I initially think I am not qualified I have barely done any writing throughout my 3 years at St. Cloud State (nor has any of my classes really pushed it yet), in fact I have been focusing on building my skills on everything BUT writing. So my new goal for the remainder of my time at SCSU is to do whatever I can to improve my writing skills- because I really do believe I struggle with that the most (especially knowing AP Style- eek!)
After my morning filled with amazing information and very helpful advice, I had lunch with Tracy. What a great experience that was, all the questions I was able to ask, the advice she gave. Wow! The best part about it was, she was an SCSU alum, and participated in a lot of the same things I am also currently doing. So on top of asking questions about her current job now, she was able to answer my questions about where I am at now, and what I should do next.
In this one day of job shadowing, I was already able to get one solid connection for when I graduate or am looking for an internship. The last part of the afternoon was spent doing a ‘speed networking’ session with all the companies that participated in Pro-Am day. Although I might have not left a lasting impression I was still able to get a variety of perspectives and a few business cards from it.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone and everyone. No matter what field you plan on going into, get yourself out there! It shows initiative when you reach out to potential employers, it shows them you are genuinely interested in getting a job/internship with their company. Even if you just call up a company for a mock interview, usually they won’t turn you down, or just start researching companies or certain jobs you are interested in and keep pursuing them, it will help you out in the long run.