A couple hundred dollars, more than a thousand miles and dozens of business cards later, I’m back in San Diego from the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference energized and inspired as ever in pursuing a career in the public relations profession.
But for my fellow public relations students and pr pros who were unable to attend, I thought I would share the top 5 things I’ve learned from some of the nation’s top public relations professionals and strategists.
1.Relationships are key.
Not only is building relationships with your clients and publics crucial in the practice of public relations, but so too are the relationships you create and nurture with established professionals. Companies want to make sure they know you and that you can get the job done. Building trust through early and consistent contact with an organization, whether it be an informational interview or an email goes a long way.
Make that call, send that email and learn about what you’re interested in. Don’t wait for people to come to you, or for that job opportunity to be posted, instead go to the source and learn about the company you want to work for.
3.It’s OK to be different.
Actually encouraged! And I don’t mean being a male in a female intensive field (which personally I don’t mind), but rather find your niche. Over and over again the importance of distinguishing yourself above all other applicants was emphasized. Make it clear who you are and what you have to bring to the table is consistent across all online platforms.
4.Talk, don’t preach.
I’m a Millennial and as much as I love talking about myself or what I did, no one else loves hearing about it. Use your social media and online presence for dialogue not dissemination. Connect with people, talk about topics you’re mutually interested in, and have fun doing it.
Asking questions never hurt anyone. Don’t take everything at face value, and if you don’t understand something, ask. Get involved, make something, create something and develop your own skills that way. As “Biz” Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, said, “Opportunity can be manufactured,” so whatever you want to do it’s up to you, make it happen!
Follow David on twitter at @DavidRozul