Recently, I was invited to take part in a networking event called “speed mentoring” hosted by Eastern Michigan University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Think speed dating, but better. It’s a chance for public relations students to connect with PR professionals by asking questions about resumes, internships, PR jobs and more. It also gave me a chance to network with them, because they will become my peers.
Looking upon the fresh-faced students eagerly seeking PR advice, I happily gave them insight about working in the PR industry. As students interacted with me and my fellow PR mentors, I noticed a few things that made some of them stand out from the crowd. Here are my takeaways:
YOU are your brand!
Treat every interaction you have with a PR pro as a job interview. I’m always reminded of the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” PR pros take notice of your appearance, professionalism and the ability to sell yourself. Dress appropriately, have a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and have confidence. You never know when your paths might cross again.
Be a sponge
Voltaire once said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” This rings true for PR students. Asking questions shows initiative and a thirst for knowledge. It demonstrates that you truly want to know about us and the PR industry. I appreciated every meaningful question.
Thank you! Goodnight!
After every interaction with a PR pro, always thank them for their time. As soon as the event was over, I was handed a lovely handwritten thank you note from EMU PRSSA. Some participants even tweeted at me. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a little something that reaffirms your passion for PR and that you are thankful for our time spent together.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice that you learned as a student or young PR professional? Drop a note in our comments section.
Andrea Kenski is an Account Manager at Franco.