Five tips to be a successful student and (eventually) PR professional.

PRSA Day

Do you want to be successful in college, and continue with that success after graduation as you are trying to land your first professional job? Here are a few tips I’ve learned along my journey. They aren’t difficult to accomplish, but they do take a little time commitment and a passion for public relations.

From your first PR class at UCM to your last one, you’ll be exposed to the multiple areas of PR you might want to go into after graduation. It is okay if you don’t know yet, but once you figure it out, go after it. Make yourself professionally sellable. When it is time to interview for a job, you will need to be able to tell a future employer what you did in the last four years that will benefit the company or organization, not about how those experiences benefited you. Remember that, it is key.

So, here are a few tips I wish someone would’ve told me when I was a freshman, or at least that I wish I would’ve listened to if someone did tell me.

1. Be a leader. Whether it is on campus in an organization or off campus, leadership skills on a resume are essential. Employers do not want to hire someone who is a follower and is not able to voice his or her own opinions.

2. Don’t do AN internship. Do SEVERAL internships. When you begin looking for work, most job qualifications will require some PR experience before you can even apply for the job. That means, if you didn’t put in the time to do internships while you were in school, you’ll be doing them afterwards, and who wants to be earning internship wages post graduation?

3. Pay attention in your writing classes. Continue to practice writing even when you aren’t in class. AP Style will be with you the rest of your career. Learn AP style early on; trust me! Almost every PR job requires good writing skills.

4. Volunteer. Whether you are volunteering to do PR work for a nonprofit organization or picking up trash on the side of the highway, giving time back to the community feels good and looks good on your resume. It is a great way to add “experience” to your resume.

5. Brand yourself. It takes time. You can’t decide a month from graduation that you are ready to start being professional and that you are going to find a job right away. Building your own brand takes time. Act professionally on social media, build a network of professional contacts and continue to add quality experiences to your resume.

Sadie Hicks is a senior public relations major at the University of Central Missouri

About ucm_pr_program

PRSA certified program in undergraduate public relations education, with growth in graduate education
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