By Erica Freeze
Broadening your professional network is essential for a smooth transition into the professional world. Your time in college is crucial for connecting with professionals and exploring possible career paths. So how do you meet potential employers? Here are four ways to get your foot in the door:
Join a career building group on-campus:
Student organizations across the country provide students with a variety of ways to network and meet new people. There are several on-campus clubs that can help broaden your professional network which includes: The International Business and Economics Club, Independent Society of Campus Journalists, UO Toastmasters, the American Institute of Architecture Students, and PRSSA. Many of these clubs bring in professionals to their meetings who give advice on how to succeed in a specific career path. The UO PRSSA chapter invites PR professionals bi-weekly to present at chapter meetings. These meetings can help you network and discover potential firms you might be interested in applying to after graduation.
Utilize the Career Center through the Professional Network:
As an enrolled student, you have access to a professional network through the Career Center. To gain access, you must complete an online networking workshop and quiz, and the login to your Duck Connect account. The Professional Network consists of UO alumni, parents, and friends committed to supporting you in exploring different career paths and preparing you for the working world. Browse various profiles and reach out to those who have a career that interests you in the professional network. If you gain a contact, ask if you can receive an onsite tour or set up a job shadow. This network is a great resource for engagement because all professionals in the network have agreed to share their time and professional expertise with UO students.
Connect with your instructor:
Many of your instructors have great connections in a variety of industries. Your instructors want to get to know you and help you succeed. Get to know your professors and see what realm of public relations each one specializes in. If they have similar interests to yours, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. They also still keep in touch with past students who have entered the public relations industry and can connect you with them. Instructors will often invite professionals into the classroom as well, so feel free to ask questions in class!
Set up an informational interview:
Before reaching out to a professional, look into a company you are interested in and research who they are, what they do and what they support. Once you have some knowledge about the company, ask the professional if they are willing to speak with you. Schedule a time that works for both of you, and be prepared to ask questions about their daily life at the company, any projects they are working on and the office environment. Remember that informational interviews are different from job interviews and that they do not guarantee a job.
Connect with professionals on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for connecting with employers. If you don’t have a LinkedIn it is definitely time for you to set one up! Take the time to tailor your profile to show potential employers who you are. Many companies are on LinkedIn and you can narrow your searches by location, industry or job openings. LinkedIn is a great way to follow the employees at the companies you are interested in. You can message professionals on the platform and inquire about informational interviews or ask simple questions.
These are just a few ways to broaden your network. What are your tips and tricks for meeting potential employers?
By Talia Smith
Last year I was living in Portland, dead in the middle of a PR internship search. I applied to companies of all sizes – large corporations such as Edelman, midsize agencies such as Matter Communications, and small, boutique firms where I found the most success. When I shifted my attention to smaller firms, I noticed actual people were picking up my phone calls and responding to my emails.
Three interviews later, I landed an internship at Veracity. The boutique PR firm is owned by Amy and Mike Rosenberg, both UO alums. Their quaint office is tucked away in the stylish Bakery Building in Northeast Portland. For six months, I worked side by side with Amy and Mike, trying to soak up their knowledge about the field of PR.
One of the many things I learned during my internship is bigger is not always better when it comes to employment. I encourage anyone in my similar situation to seek out a boutique PR firm to intern. Here are four reasons why:
You can create meaningful relationships with your mentors.
When you work closely with your employers, you can’t help but get to know them on a deeper level than you otherwise would at a large agency. You have an ability to shine and be seen since, well, there are not as many people in your way. At a large firm, you won’t have the ability to interact with the president of the company on a daily basis. After producing good work and proving yourself to be a valuable intern, you can be assured that you will always have a great reference, letter of recommendation and networking connection. It is wonderful to have someone you can count on to speak highly of you.
There is a likely chance your internship will turn into a job.
All the lovey-dovey stuff aside, PR firms invest a lot of time and energy into their interns and they want a return on their investment. It is in their best interest to hire someone full-time who already knows the ropes of the company. Why would they want to hire someone in need of training when they could hire someone who has already been trained? Larger firms have more funds to test out interns whereas small firms won’t take on anyone who they can’t see working at the company in the future.
You might work directly with clients and media.
With the intimacy of a boutique PR firm comes trust and responsibility when it comes to client and media relations. You cannot necessarily say the same of an entry level position at a large firm. There is no better way to tighten up your email and phone etiquette than calling up a client or reporter on a regular basis.
When you communicate with reporters regularly, you create media relations that carry with you to your next job. Reporters tend to pick up press releases from familiar writers who take the time to understand their beat. A large portion of my internship was customizing emails and matching press releases to the right reporters. At larger firms, media relations can turn into spam at times with automated email pitches. Learning the essential skill of client and media communication is valuable.
You will have the opportunity to create tons of portfolio pieces.
Nothing looks better in a portfolio than an actual writing sample used by a client. In smaller firms, there is plenty of work to go around and a lot of it will fall on you. There is a good chance that you will have the opportunity to write pieces that end up in newspapers, magazines, blogs or social media posts. The work you produce is real and holds weight in a portfolio over something written for a school project. There is more work to dish out to other people in larger agencies but you have to be more of a jack-of-all-trades in a boutique firm – the result will be an array of diverse profile pieces.
As you’re starting to think about summer internships, I recommend starting your search with boutique PR firms. Be aware that many small firms do not post internships online – it’s up to you to create your own position and pitch yourself. This is really only a possibility at boutique firms.
Start by researching and making a list of the firms in your area then give them a call. Once you get someone on the phone, ask if they would be interested in hosting an intern. Practice your pitch and make it direct. Either they will say no and you can move on to the next firm on your list or they will say yes and ask you to send your resume. Make sure to remember the name of the person you spoke with on the phone.
Take some time to research the firm and create a customized cover letter. Then compose an email saying, “Hi, I spoke to so and so on the phone and they told me your firm might be interested in hosting an intern.” Attach your cover letter and resume and wait for a reply email or phone call. I guarantee, there will be a few firms who never invited the possibility of hosting an intern until it was presented to them. Who doesn’t need extra help and cheap labor?
Take control of your internship search by narrowing your choices to the boutique PR firms in your area. It worked for me and it will work for you too. The skills and hands-on experience you will gain in a boutique PR firm could land you a job with the company or act as a stepping stone to your next exciting career move. You know what they say: good things come in small packages.
By Erica Freeze
In today’s technologically advanced society, more companies are incorporating social media into their marketing and communications plans. For a company’s social media platform to gain attention, strategists should devise a social media plan. Every interaction that is made on social networks should work towards the organization goals. The more time and effort spent on a social media plan, the more effective it will be in its implementation. If your employer asks you to generate a social media plan, here are five ways tips to consider to ensure its success:
Step 1: Define social media objectives and goals
Establishing plan objectives allows you to make changes to your social media campaigns and platforms if they are not coinciding with your goals. Goals need to be established to gauge the overall success of the campaign. When setting your campaign goals, think of the acronym, “S.M.A.R.T.” This acronym is a great way to remember that your goals should be “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.” Some examples of goals may be: increasing company awareness, increasing sales or increasing visitor loyalty. The goal is important to establish because it is the driving force of a social media plan.
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
A social media audit is a process of analyzing what is working and what is not across your company’s social media platforms. When first starting your audit, take note of post frequency and follower interactions on each channel. From this, you can compare how your numbers change each month or each year. You can determine which platforms are worth keeping, enhancing or disregarding.
Step 3: Construct a content strategy
Creating a timeline and planning the content to post is helpful in the organization and originality of each platform. Cater your content to your company image, your audience, and the platform. An example: Should we post something funny or more serious? Should a video or a status be posted? Once your content is established, you can decide how frequently to post it on each platform. There are many studies that provide useful information about optimal posting times for each medium. Finding the perfect frequency to post can generate more engagement for your content.
Step 4: Engagement
It is important to see how your followers engage with your content on each platform. Keep track of how well each post is doing on likes, shares, and comments. Be on top of both negative and positive feedback. Instead of deleting negative comments, try to turn the customer’s perception around with positive advice and understanding. Showing that you care about your customers on social media can attract more followers and enhance customer loyalty.
Step 5: Evaluate and Alter your Plan
After you have implemented your plan, you should watch for what is working and what is not. You can use an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to provide data on website traffic. Once you see which content is driving the most traffic, you can apply this awareness to new posts. Because social media is constantly growing and changing, it is important to frequently analyze your successes and failures. From this, you can reconstruct your social media plan to best benefit your organization.
By Lily Gordon
Wedged between the Volcanology building and Lokey Laboratories in the heart of the University of Oregon’s Science Complex, Willamette Hall is not where one would just happen across a Public Relations or Journalism major. In the echoey atrium, students studying Physics, Computer Science and Math can be seen, heads bent over thick books and flashing screens. Willamette is the nucleus of the Physics Department, a subject most future PR practitioners are relieved to have left behind in high school.
Within the depths of kinematics and electromagnetic waves, there is a fountain of public relations knowledge. A hidden gem of expertise. His name is Professor Scott Fisher. In addition to being an advisor and astronomy lecturer within the Physics Department, Fisher is the Outreach Director. He has years of community outreach experience starting from his humble beginnings in Hawaii at the Gemini Observatory (one of the ten largest observatories worldwide) writing press releases, tabling at events and regularly chatting to the local news channel about the work being done at the observatory. Then came his time in D.C. with the National Science Foundation facilitating educational and grant-related programs. Now, the UO has snatched not only a great thinker in the astronomy world, but a PR one as well.
I sat down with Fisher to pick his brain about everything related to community outreach. In addition to being naturally predisposed to the communications field, he says he was born with extra helpings of schmooze, science, mathematics and “dashingly good looks.” Fisher understands how to bridge scientists’ complex ideas to the general public. While astrophysics and science in general may be a yawn-worthy field to some, (but a field with many, many, many PR jobs) it is one of the more challenging fields a PR practitioner can be tasked with strategically communicating. If a person, such as Fisher has, can get Aunt Martha in rural Florida or Hawaii to care about developments lightyears away, then that person can also communicate the messaging of more relatable brands such as Whole Foods, Nike, Tesla or Intel.
For those interested in job security and representing the future of the planet, there are a number of science classes targeted at non-science majors such as Fisher’s astronomy courses. But to get to the meat of it all, the following are key takeaways from my conversation with Fisher. One could call them “The Fisher Keys to Community Outreach Success.”
Know your audience.
“You can’t give the same spiel to every audience,” says Fisher. “It’s about the audience. It’s not about you, the PR person.”
This is core to any public relations plan, but even more so when tackling community outreach. Fisher has developed strategies in order to engage groups as varied as K-12 students to retirees in Central Oregon. And even when the demographics of two events are the same on paper, the value of personally interacting with the community and understanding what makes them tick cannot be underestimated.
Be flexible with the core message.
Once Fisher understands his audiences front and back, he likes to stay adaptable. “Quiet credentials” are an important tool in his kit. A public relations practitioner may know every fact, figure and anecdote pertaining to his or her client, but the real talent is knowing which select things to share with an audience. While a room full of professors may be impressed by your amazing resume and in turn care more about your client, second graders will not. Know what knowledge and experiences to share.
If people don’t care, it’s because they don’t understand.
“Don’t undervalue the interest of your audience in your topic,” Fisher says. “The best presentations and best stories I’ve written or interactions I have had, I’ve always felt that I covered all of the material I wanted to cover, but I left them wanting a tiny bit more.”
Scientists, stockbrokers and lawyers are often guilty of using too much jargon. They leave people wanting more— more of something they’ll actually understand. When it comes to community outreach, people first need to comprehend a subject, be it astronomy, homelessness or adoption, before they can care about it.
By Arunima Bhattacharjee
Last night’s party was a blast! You and your friends drank and today, you decided to share all of those pictures and videos on your social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Your friends will have a great laugh, people will see how crazy you were at the party and everything will remain a memory. Until one day when you apply for a job, and your recruiting employer decides to check your social media. When they see all your pictures from that night, they will either think you are a very social person or they might actually reject you based on what you did in the past.
Social media is a great place for employers to learn more about a potential candidate. About 93 percent of recruiters check the social media profiles of prospective candidates before they make a decision to hire them. And sometimes, what they find can be a major factor in hiring that person or not. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder with 2,200 hiring human resource managers found that 48 percent of hiring managers didn’t hire a candidate based on what they found on their social media.
Now I am quite positive that you don’t want to be that person who gets rejected from a job because of something you posted on social media. Therefore, here are some tips that can help you brand yourself on social media:
Identifying your brand
From the moment you went on cyberspace you formed your own brand. Google yourself, know what’s coming up when you search your name. The privacy settings on Facebook changes often, so be cautious of what is public and what isn’t. Therefore model a good positive behavior. If you want to impulsively post and share things, do it with positive intentions.
Your employer wants to know if you’re really the person you say you are, and social media is there to prove it to them. You don’t have to post things on Facebook or twitter to look more experienced or knowledgeable. You just have to be you (without the drunken pictures of course.)
What you write on social media matters
If you had a bad experience at a previous job, don’t write about it on social media. The hiring manager for your current job prospect will definitely not appreciate what you had to write about your previous employers, and that might put you at risk to getting the job. These 10 people lost their jobs because of something they posted on social media. You don’t want to be them before you even get the job.
Social media is filled with information about all of us. You don’t have to be fake to make yourself look appealing to the job recruiter. However, be conscious about what you post on your Facebook or Twitter. Just be yourself and don’t over exaggerate about your abilities or change your name to provide more security to your private life. Employers will like it if you do have social media because it proves you are up-to-date with the internet and obviously because you have a social life. So go out there into cyberspace and fix what needs fixing.
By Lily Gordon
Goodwill is where you go to piece together a Marty McFly costume for under $20. Or where Macklemore gets his Velour jumpsuit and house slippers. Or maybe even where your aunt goes to snag some great gag gift. But in all of these scenarios, Goodwill is a place. It is a brick and mortar business. People go to Goodwill.
Well, that’s about to change all in the name of Goodwill’s mission:
“To enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”
That mission cannot be achieved without one simple thing, profits. More than 100 Goodwill stores have taken to the internet with the sole hope of boosting sales. The website, shopgoodwill.com, allows the retailer to sell items, typically higher priced merchandise such as jewelry, in an online auction similar to that of eBay. Going online has majorly payed off thus far. The Portland, Oregon Goodwill sites see more than a million dollars in online profits per month.
Goodwill’s move to an online shop demonstrates a clear understanding of millennials, one of the company’s top target markets. However, the non-profit has done a poor job of creating awareness about the online store. The Goodwill Industries Twitter actively promotes campaigns, interacts with customers and reiterates the company’s mission, but fails to mention shopgoodwill.com.
Whether or not shopgoodwill.com will ever become more successful than Goodwill brick and mortar stores is still up in the air. Clothes are a staple of the non-profit. When 20-somethings get excited about thrift shopping, scavenging clothing racks for great finds is typically what comes to mind. The fact is, however, clothing simply does not re-sell well online. That is something Goodwill’s public relations team will have to tackle if they intend to make shopgoodwill.com into the next generation’s idea of thrifting.
This is an exciting time for Goodwill’s PR teams across the United States and Canada. Despite the company’s blunders in the initial stages of its e-commerce appearance, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to shine. They haven’t done anything wrong— they just haven’t really done anything yet. It’s time for Goodwill to prove to millennials that thrift shopping is just as cool on a laptop as it is in a store.
By Lily Gordon
Protests are a quintessential part of democratic countries. Occupy Wall Street, the Civil Rights Movement, the Boston Tea Party— the good ol’ American protest has been proven to produce tangible change when addressing national policy or cultural issues. Perhaps the perfect Petri dish for protests and social activism is on a college campus. When a mass of people learning about the injustices of the world all live in one place, public demonstrations are bound to occur.
Dealing with protestors, or what strategic communicators so eloquently call “issues management,” isn’t exactly the highlight of most PR professionals’ week. I got the chance to sit down with Kyle Henley, the Vice President of Communications at the University of Oregon, and chat about the sometimes tricky topic of issue management on a college campus.
It seemed almost too fitting that on the way to Henley’s office I passed through a group of students from the UO Climate Justice League participating in a sit-in just a few feet from his door. Whereas in a large corporation the chief communications officer could stay in his or her corner office removed from demonstrators, a university is a small city. When neighbors are unhappy, they march right up to the offender’s front stoop.
Henley didn’t seem fazed by the guests in the atrium. He embodies his policy of keeping a level head when it comes to communicating. During our conversation, he mentioned countless morsels of PR wisdom, but a few core aspects stood out when it comes to approaching issues management. These are what I’m calling The Henley Keys to Communication Success.
Since the 1960s there have been loud student protests on American college campuses. “It’s not something we’re unaccustomed to dealing with,” says Henley. There are certain issues every university administration can anticipate— tuition, campus safety, feelings of inequality— and that makes it easier to develop proactive strategies. According to Henley the UO is a “well oiled machine” when it comes to controversy. Like any large corporation, the university’s communications team forecasts potential issues that could occur taking into consideration the student body’s demographics, upcoming changes, and other factors unique to the school.
“What’s the challenge? What are the answers and information you’ll need? And how will you communicate it?” Henley says these are the three questions to ask when addressing any communications problem. PR often faces criticism for being “all spin,” but when facing social activists, a brand must decipher the facts in order to develop a realistic path forward. Once the truth is evident to brand communicators, which may or may not align with activists’ demands, clear and consistent messaging can follow.
Henley admits he is the forty-five-year-old dad who really likes Facebook but doesn’t have the bandwidth to do the “other ones,” meaning Twitter, Snapchat, et cetera. He also acknowledges the major role social media plays in vocal student dissatisfaction. That’s why the university communications department has individuals who understand every in and out of these platforms tracking the conversation. Law enforcement even plays a role when it comes to monitoring the UO Yik Yak. The point is a person cannot become an expert on everything. A distinguishing characteristic of great PR professionals is that they can find the right experts and aren’t bothered by asking for assistance.
“Even if you have a job that you love, and I do, don’t let your job define you,” Henley said. “Find something you’re passionate about and invest in that.” Henley is a family man who enjoys cycling and cooking among other hobbies. Besides keeping a person sane, Henley notes the valuable perspective gained by having a fulfilling life outside of the office. PR is all about balance: what the brand wants compared to what consumers are demanding, having an online presence but also remaining personable, bringing creativity into the mix while keeping messaging accurate and clear. Balance is ultimately the key to professional communicating success be it personally, when dealing with a long-term branding project, or even when protestors come calling.
Guest Blog Post by Josh Wei, Founder of UltraPress, the fastest and cheapest place for custom apparel.
There’s a commonly perpetuated lie in the small business world. It goes like this: “You can’t be successful at PR, because it’s too expensive.” Unfortunately, many SBOs take this statement as fact and never even attempt to develop a PR strategy. As a result, they’re left scrambling to compete against bigger companies with deeper pockets.
While PR can get expensive, it doesn’t have to be out of your price range. For even just a few hundred dollars per year, you can invest in a full-fledged PR campaign that pushes your brand to the top. However, you have to be willing to ignore the noise and silence the myths.
PR Isn’t Optional
Contrary to what some say, PR is not optional. Regardless of the size of your business, the industry you operate in, and the budget you have at your disposal, you can’t ignore PR. As soon as you have a product created and a brand developed, you must begin working on relationship building.
According to business writer Jerome Cleary, there are four main reasons why PR matters for a small business. They are as follows:
Basically, you can’t afford to ignore PR. And while it may cost you time, resources, and money to develop and maintain a strategy, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
5 Free or Cheap PR Options and Solutions
So, how exactly can you do PR on a budget? Well, you need to arm yourself with the right tools and solutions. The good news is that many are free or cheap, including the following:
Out of all the online PR services available, HARO – or Help a Reporter Out – is by far the best. This service works by connecting reporters with a variety of potential sources for stories. It’s designed to be a two-way street that helps both journalists and brands.
The service gives journalists the ability to find relevant stories, while simultaneously allowing brands to secure valuable media coverage. If you take a look at the HARO website, you’ll notice that a number of media outlets use the service, including TIME, Mashable, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, and more. You can learn more about how HARO works from the brand side by checking out their How it Works page. Subscriptions run from free all the way up to $149 per month for a premium account.
Do you sell physical products? Do you want to get the word out about your product? Tomoson may be the answer. This software manages and matches influencers with brands for valuable reviews and social proof. It allows you to give products away to bloggers and people in your target market with the hope of creating some buzz. You can then see who has received your products, talked about them on social media, and posted about them on their blogs.
There are currently more than 20,000 influencers on Tomoson, and the site is growing by the day. It’s a really great way to kick start organic growth and grassroots sharing. For a business account, you can start out with a free 30-day trial. After that, monthly accounts range from $99 to $499 per month.
Honestly, one of the best things you can do is start guest blogging. You don’t even have to write about your brand or products. Just start building relationships with different industry blogs and make sure a byline is included as part of the compensation. Also, don’t be surprised if it’s the only compensation.
As you start accumulating profiles, you’ll begin to gain some name recognition in the industry. Ultimately, this will lead to brand recognition. And once you’ve built enough equity, you may even be able to start writing about your business and products.
This is obviously a long-term approach, but it’s something every smart business owner should do. These blogging relationships are the modern day equivalent of knowing your local newspaper writers. They’ll help immensely in the long run. If you’re unsure of how to find guest blogging relationships, try Guestr. This website shows you which websites and blogs are looking for guest contributors.
Another very simple thing you can do is get in touch with media members via Twitter. You want to avoid being creepy or obnoxious, but sending an occasional direct message, retweeting posts, and responding to tweets is a great way to make an introduction. After all, you’re much more likely to have a pitch accepted if the person at least knows your name.
Part of being successful in PR is accurately tracking your progress and gaining insights into how your different efforts and campaigns are being perceived in the marketplace. Once your name gets out there and you have multiple things happening, it’s difficult to do this manually. This is where PR monitoring tools come into play.
There are a number of cheap or free options available. HubSpot has compiled a list of the top 18 tools for monitoring and managing media relations. There are some really good ones on this list. Look through them and see if you can find some that align with your brand.
If you’re just starting out with PR, you may not need these tools yet. They are designed for brands that already have campaigns in place. However, over time, you’ll find that they are invaluable. It’s better to start using them in advance than it is to learn about them on the fly.
PR Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
Your competitors want you to believe that PR is expensive. They want you to think that it’s something only Fortune 500 companies and large organizations with massive budgets can get involved with. And while you may not be able to afford a full-time publicist, there are plenty of things you can do to push your brand forward and find opportunities.
PR doesn’t have to be expensive if you use the right tools and understand how to stretch your budget. Keep these five options in mind and start to develop a cost-effective PR strategy that allows you to achieve success in 2016 and beyond.
By Arunima Bhattacharjee
While you’re a a pre-journalism student at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), you might have asked yourself a few questions before deciding the perfect major for yourself. Some people believe that creativity is for advertising, writing skills for journalism and dealing with people is public relations. So, which skills do you identify with the most? Well, all three majors require extensive communication, creativity and writing skills. However, the second question that might cross your mind is which major will most likely land me with a job after graduation? Well then it’s time we explore this question because the career you choose will impact how much money you will make in the future.
According to “The Guardian,” the competition in the journalism field is “immense.” It takes some time to land with a good paying job as a journalist and you need to know your technology before heading into the job market. The journalism school here at the University of Oregon (UO) will teach you the necessary technological knowledge, but the rest is on you. You need to be up-to-date with all the available software for editing and creating multimedia. It’s also important to create a portfolio; this will show them what you’ve learned while in school. In addition, the average salary for a journalist is in between $24,000 to $71,000 annually.
If you are thinking that you will sit at a leather chair with a window view in Manhattan at an advertisement agency, like “Mad Men”, then think again. Peggy didn’t get her own office on her first day of work. She had an entry-level position and then got promoted to different levels because she was able to demonstrate unique skills and creative thinking. That’s what advertisement agencies want in new graduating undergrads. If you intern in an advertising firm while in college, it is more likely that same firm will be willing to hire you full-time after you graduate. According to the “Payscale Human Capital”, the salary at an advertising firm will be between $32,000 and $71,000 annually, this can also vary on which part of advertisement you are interested in going into.
Public relations, on the other hand are outpacing journalism. According to the “Pew Research Center” the salary gap between PR specialist and a news reporter is almost $20,000 annually. A new survey from the University of Georgia found that new graduates earn on average $35,000 a year when they get into the public relations career. The number of employed PR specialists is expected to jump from 258,100 in 2010 to 316,200 by 2020. This projection equates to a 23% rise in employment.
By Pablo Lopez
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism, gives us her top-three reasons to build relationships with our instructors on campus.
Networking. Networking. Networking.
This word gets thrown around at us in college classrooms like our parents reminding us to eat our vegetables at the dinner table. But like our vegetables, why is it important?
More importantly, why should we network with instructors that we have to deal with for 10 weeks? Ten weeks should be more than enough time, right? Wrong.
Personally, I rather call it “building relationships.” It doesn’t sound as professional, but as students, I think we’re here to look at instructors as our friends and not as an associate that we’re competing with, dreading to ask them for help and cringing at the thought that they’ll embarrass you in front of the boss.
It’s true, we have a lot on our plate. It is almost impossible to meet with instructors when you’re trying to balance the workload of four or five classes while working a daily job that requires countless hours of physical labor.
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) agrees. Chandler says, “Students are busy. And going to office hours, if you feel like you have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in the class, may seem like it’s too much to add to your schedule. But I think that the other part that students need to think about is that the instructors in the program that you’re in –in this case PR – really care about where you end up.”
These are Chandler’s three reasons to build a relationship with instructors.
1. Connection: We are here to learn from instructors.
It’s obvious that books cannot teach us everything. We can go to class twice a week, ace the course, and still be oblivious to what’s going on in the work place. Chandler says one of the best reasons to build a relationship with instructors is not only because they ‘have great deal of knowledge on the skills we are learning,’ but because they have ‘a fair amount of practical experience in the work place that you want to go into using those skills.’ They’re here to help; use them.
2. Good Practice: Instructors welcome “cold emails”
It’s an awkward, and sometimes intimidating introduction that you have no idea how to approach. As hard as it sounds, it’s not that bad. Instructors know that we have questions, and sure we might sound a little nervous, but don’t be hesitant and just do it.
Chandler explains that it’s as easy as sending an email. “Most instructors in, for example, the PR sequence, would be open to even just an email that says: ‘I’m a student in the public relations program and I know you are an instructor in the program with a special interest in leadership – for example like Dave Remund has – and I’d like to sit and talk with you. Can we do that sometime?’”
If you have a relationship with an instructor already, she recommends you simply ask to be introduced either virtually or in person with another instructor in the department that they think would be a good person for you to sit and talk with.
3. Access to Opportunities: Guidance into the right path
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely in the same boat as I am. We need a well-trained sailor to help us get to the destination we’re trying to reach. Which is exactly where the instructors come in to play. Chandler shares, “part of helping you get to that place is certainly the skills that you’re learning in the classrooms, but it’s also in getting to understand what you’re specifically interested in as an individual and helping in anyway that we can to guide you toward the path that you really want to take.” An exceptional staff surrounds us in the SOJC, and ultimately, they are here to help.