Last year was my first year in PRSSA, and what a whirlwind it was. Having literally no PR experience or education prior to last fall, I was excited to jump into my career choice. I was certain to make the most out of my college career- the 16 months I had left.
The E-Board made a lot of promises; you’ll learn to network, go on a lot of agency tours, learn more about PR in general, have workshops, exclusive internships opportunities and so much more. How could one team do all of this for me? With a lot of hard work they made it happen, and I want to give back what I have learned in the past year.
Exclusive Internship Opportunities:
I was offered an internship because I attended an agency tour. It was that easy. A team member announced that she was looking for an intern over the summer for a Grand Rapids event, Grand Jazz Fest. Several members stayed after the presentation to get contact information and to give her a resume. She followed up a little while later and was interested in hiring me and another member for the event. It was a great opportunity.
My current internship is also one that I found through PRSSA. They emailed the job posting to members and I applied from there. I am so thankful for being involved in PRSSA; I would have missed out on this internship that I love. I asked the marketing department why they went to PRSSA. And they said, although it’s a marketing titled job, PR students do it better.
Attend as many as you can. THEY ARE WORTH IT! Let me repeat, they are worth every single second. The Vice President of Professional Development does so much to set these tours up, because they want it to be of value to you! I learned so much going on the tours (I made it a point to go to every single one). I learned what PR is like at the Detroit Lions, smaller Grand Rapids agencies, corporate and even nonprofit. This is also a great place to network and learn about different opportunities that they may have for students. *Read above.
Portfolios are so hard to create; where do you even being? Not to mention an online portfolio… However, the E-Board brought in theirs and let us flip through the pages. It was great to look at a couple different options to get a feel for how they put that together. I took mental snapshots and began planning my own. I successfully created my own over the summer, thanks to the meeting that showed me how.
Volunteering is a great way to spend extra free time. I personally believe that it’s important to give back time. Yes, we are all very busy individuals, but if you make it a point to volunteer one shift a month, its easy. You feel so good afterwards and it’s a great resume builder. I run a nonprofits social media page, and about to start a second. No money involved, it’s a lot of work, but I’m changing lives.
Not knowing a soul during my first meeting, I signed up to volunteer at the Warrior Dash to raise money for PRSSA. I met so many wonderful individuals, and it was a great time. It’s a great way to get involved with the organization.
The 5 hours a week I would be spending watching trashy TV shows are now spent creating PR campaigns for real clients. I started as an Account Associate in January 2014 and fell in love with the process. My team helped a nonprofit organization raise over $65,000 (total funds earned with all efforts). We created more awareness for Grand Rapids Latin Film Festival, and even got to run their social media! It was a great learning experience. Now, in my last semester I am an Account Executive running a team trying to make their experience just as valuable as mine.
If you are still on the fence about joining PRSSA, I say do it. Jump in and get involved-you won’t regret it. I got so much out of my year in PRSSA, and will be sad when December comes. It’s the best group of people that I could have met.