Thursday, November 29th, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Boston University PRSSA’s Young Alumni Panel to learn from the experiences of recent BU graduates working in the PR industry. The panel was an easy-going conversation between Allison Morris, Mark Nolan, Ginny Soskey, Rachel Sprung, and Chris Wilcox. While there was so much great advice tossed around, here are some highlights that could be of value for current students to know:
- You go to a school that prepares you really well. “BU is really good at stimulating interest in the field,” Allison Morris shared. “And that is something that’s really important to have outside of college.” Morris also said that the passion that BU instilled in her for the public relations field, technology, and social media was a lasting advantage that she had over peers who became disillusioned with their jobs.
- Don’t put blinders on COM. Take advantage of those liberal arts credits to get experiences and gain knowledge about other fields. Ginny Soskey shared that her psychology background helped her to have a more insightful look at content strategy, and recommended a social psychology class for burgeoning PR students. Rachel Sprung agreed, adding that her SMG classes were useful in understanding the business side of her current work. Take advantage of being required to take classes in other subject fields, rather than taking all COM electives.
- Utilize your peers. The people you are surrounded by now will be your connections in the real world. They will be useful to you when you all are in separate places and you need a favor, or need help obtaining information. Build connections and friendships, and maintain them. Not so coincidentally, the entire panel noted that they did not get the current job they had by traditionally applying, but by knowing someone who was hiring.
- Use Twitter to join the conversation. Twitter is one of the most important tools you can use to get a job. The alumni stressed the importance of getting into “the conversation,” meaning it is important to tweet your educated opinions about topics of interest to you or a company you want to work at. The importance of creating original content, whether that’s developed through thoughtful tweets or blog posts, is universally agreed upon.
- Don’t forget about the importance of culture. “I love those comfortable meetings where you can have a big belly laugh,” Chris Wilcox, marketing associate at Communispace, chimed in. The panelists felt that when applying for jobs many people get too caught up in the job itself and forget to look at the culture of the company they are looking into. This is important to do, because as an employee if you feel that the culture, or media policy, of your company is stifling, it will inhibit your work.
Are you successful alumni and have tips for communications students still in college? Share them here by leaving a comment below!