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Karen Rassieur, Miami University Graduate 2011, BA Strategic Communication (Minor Marketing)

The PR Industry Through the Eyes of a Graduating Senior

As a graduating senior at Miami University, I am about to be hurled into the ‘real world.’ Many students, like myself, are competing in a rat race to find the ‘best job’ with the most promising future. However, as an alumnus trying to enter the PR industry, I must say, I have high hopes. In the midst of my job search I recognize the PR industry as one of the fastest growing in the country.

What Can We Offer You, the Employer?

This development can be complimented by a unique skill set that entry-level students bring to the table: an increasing need for PR specialists echoes a greater need among organizations for consistent and personalized communication. In this area, graduating students possess several qualities that lend themselves to filling this need.

  • Proficiency in social media: Since high school, my age group has been enveloped in social media. Because the PR industry is experiencing an overwhelming push towards networking and marketing online on social networking platforms, an employee who is comfortable with using these tools can decrease time spent on tasks in this area, allowing for greater productivity.
  • Instant and mobile communication: In a time where immediate and consistent communication is not only the norm, but also an expectation, mobility is key. Graduating students function with their mobile devices as an extra limb. Therefore, we have a solid understanding of how to effectively use these tools to maintain relationships with others in a personal and instantaneous way. With this knowledge, graduating students are able to identify areas for growth and can offer innovative suggestion to incorporate mobile communication into a business or public relations plan.
  • Energy and enthusiasm to succeed: Entering a competitive job market, my peers and I feel an added pressure not only to secure a job, but also to succeed in that position. With this outlook on our potential careers, entry-level candidates offer fresh, positive energy to an organization.

How do Employers Find Quality Employees?

It is equally important to note that students and those looking for entry-level positions are not the only ones pursuing an extensive search. At the same time, employers are seeking employees who will contribute to the success of the organization. So, how do they go about finding the ideal candidate?

  • Teachable and passionate: One of the most important things to look for in a potential employee is one who is willing to learn and is excited about the opportunity. Someone with these qualities will have a continued desire to learn and will be willing to adapt as the industry evolves.
  • Experience: When hiring at the entry-level position, employees should first be able to connect with clients in a personal and professional way, fostering the current company relationship. Second, candidates should be able to think critically and be able to create effective public relations campaigns. Potential hires should be familiar with databases used to nurture media relations most effectively, such as HARO, and tools to keep up with industry trends, such as Google Alerts.
  • Positive attitude: Even if an applicant is qualified, it does not mean they’ll be enjoyable to work with, and I, personally, have greater motivation to work harder if I like with whom I’m working. Someone who is passionate and cares about what they are doing will be more willing to help your team.

Employers: How to Receive the Most Value from Your Interns

  • Training: Take one or two days to teach interns the basics of using various databases or software programs frequently used at your organization. Doing so will increase the intern’s capacity to contribute to the organization and reduce time taken out of your schedule to resolve problems later down the road.
  • Give responsibility: Granting interns responsibility will result in a mutually beneficial experience for both parties. The more responsibility you give to interns, the greater amount of time you have to focus on larger projects. Additionally, you will be providing students with the experience they need to be successful in the field upon graduation.

Tips for Interns to Benefit Most from Your Internship Experiences

  • Be proactive: To get the most out of an internship it is essential to take initiative. Do not just go the extra mile on a project you are assigned, but look for gaps and seek to fill them without being asked.
  • Give first: Do something for others before asking a favor. In a business revolving around relationships, it is key to remember these come first. Help someone else before considering your own needs and you will not only build more trusting relationships, but also relationships that can assist you in your future.
  • Be curious: Internships are experiences designed for learning and growth. Therefore, by asking questions about the industry, the skills required, and ongoing projects, you will get the most out of your internship experience. Taking advantage of the opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the industry and company will be invaluable when searching for a job upon graduation.
  • Ask for Guidance: By facilitating open discussion between you and your boss or coworkers, you will gain valuable insight into the industry. Schedule a time to sit down with your boss and ask questions about his or her career path, how to be successful in the industry, and what he or she looks for when hiring a full time employee. You’ll never know until you put yourself out there!