PRSSA students attending the PRSA St. Louis Career Development Day last month brought back some valuable professional advice. I didn’t attend with the students, and in a way, I am glad I didn’t. Sometimes I think my relationship with students can emulate that of a parent/teen. You know that “I can talk till I’m blue in the face” lament of parents? Well, I sometimes feel that way.
For example, I tell students that they need to make an effort to find real-world writing opportunities. I tell students the writing experience their blogging assignment provides is far more valuable to their professional careers than the points they get in class, and I also tell students failing to meet assignment deadlines is far more costly to their professional careers than the point deductions they incur in class. And, sometimes I wonder if they are even listening.
Yet, students came back from Career Development Day enthusiastically sharing advice like this: There is no reason why you should not have real-world writing samples in your portfolio instead of just fabricated classroom assignments; blogging is a great writing tool and an asset to your professional portfolio; and learning to juggle multiple tasks and keeping up with deadlines is essential to success in this industry. Hmmmm, where have I heard all of this before?
So, as we near the home-stretch of this semester, I just want to remind students, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Take the initiative to find writing opportunities. They can come in the most unexpected ways…like when I gave my husband an old, rusty 1949A John Deere tractor as a Valentine gift, and it resulted in a feature story being published in Farm & Ranch Living magazine, or like when a former student served as guest blogger.
Meet the challenges of college life with a professional outlook. It’s a competitive job market. Use your college time wisely to better position yourself and be a great PR employee – by the way, take a look at this PR News post; I like the “goes above and beyond expectations” tip.
In the meantime, pull up a chair and let’s talk.