Someone once told me that, to get a job in public relations, you need to have an internship. But to get an internship, you must have experience. It’s a Catch-22. So, how did I overcome it, and how can you? Let me tell you…
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of speaking with some PR students from Rollins College at the annual professional networking roundtable hosted by Communiqué, a student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA).
(Pop Quiz: Do you know which university CBR CEO Lori C. Booker graduated from? You guessed it! Rollins. Lori was the first person to graduate from Rollins with a degree in PR.)
There are a few nuggets of information I want to share with you and ones that I hope the students walked away with Tuesday. I think you’ll find some of these apply to the PR professional as well as the student.
- Get involved. Orlando is unique in that the area has two, strong public relations organizations – FPRA Orlando and PRSA Orlando. There are a wealth of resources right at your fingertips – whether a student or PR pro looking for a job. My point to you is to get involved and then get involved at a higher level. Yes, it’s great to be a member, and it does look good on a resume, but I guarantee you will find more benefit in actually getting involved on a board or committee. Don’t have time? Offer to write a press release for your church or a school organization. It’s only a couple hours of your time and will be something to put in your portfolio. I think this especially applies to those who may have already graduated but have not found a job yet. Volunteering will help keep your skills up and show a potential employer dedication and commitment to your profession.
- Be passionate. Love what you do because if you don’t, it will reflect in your work. If you’re passionate about your job, clients will feel it and so will reporters. I have heard reporters say that if a PR pro comes to them with a story idea that they are genuinely passionate about, the reporter is more likely to listen and write a story.
- Enjoy college. Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to hit the books, but it does mean don’t stress about the little things (i.e. getting your G.P.A. up from a 3.8 to a 3.9.). Grades are important, but potential employers will be looking for more than just your G.P.A. Enough said.
So, how did I get the experience needed to get an internship to get a job? I got involved with the PRSA student chapter at the University of Florida, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It truly was an honor to sit next to some of my fellow PR pros and speak with the students about their future careers. If you want to learn more about a possible internship or job with CBR, visit our Careers page.
Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media at CBR.