Thursday, 27 December 2012

Step 9: Adding Value to Your Future in PR

Filling in the Blanks 

This next post will cover some of the things that you might want to consider looking into at this point if you haven’t already. These are things that will compliment your existing body of work, that will round out your efforts to appear professional and that will help you stand out from a crowd in PR.

1) Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is something that many higher-up PR pros will recommend to young PR newbies. The reason why is because as students we don’t have access to the inside of the PR industry unless through internships, so we need to insight and firsthand accounts from someone on the inside. Mentors will also help you find out about the hidden job market, make connections and build essential employable skills that you may not know you even need.

Finding a mentor can be done through existing connections or networks. Maybe you can send some messages or call someone you know in the industry from LinkedIn or maybe from a business card you collected at a social event. You can even try calling up a local PR professional and asking for an informational interview. A mentorship doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. You can have one mentor or several. They may play a large role or a small role. Either way mentoring will help you out. You can check out my post on my own mentorship.

2) Get and Give Networking Cards
Just because you are not fully employed doesn’t mean you should be carrying around those ever important business cards. As a student you may call them networking cards. These are basically cards that include your name, contact and industry. For instance, put your name in large and underneath write public relations. Then include your phone number, email, LinkedIn and even your Twitter handle if you want to flaunt social media.

Business Cards for Networking

Networking cards are great because it shows you are professional and that you take yourself seriously. In turn other people will take you seriously. This past month I went to a CPRS event and brought networking cards and got a really positive reaction. People said it was proactive and they admired it. It is also great to be able to complete the card exchange. Having a card to give makes it easier to ask for a card.

The cards themselves don’t have to be a fortune. If you have a decent printer you can design and print them yourself. Otherwise look up some printing companies like Vista Print. 

3) Be Online 
I was recently told that in PR, you need an online presence to stand out. This is because so much of the PR industry is digital. I was told to start a blog, build my Twitter presence and learn to use other social media platforms. Also use LinkedIn as this is predicted to be a very popular tool for PR in 2013.

When it comes to your online presence my one advice is to always keep it private or professional. Anything you say can be seen by others and will reflect on your character. I think it’s important to avoid slang, bad words, insults or spelling mistakes, because these could be the one difference between you and another job candidate. It also shows that the company that hires you can rely on you to be professional in representing their organization.

Social Media for Students

This step is sort of a mash up of some actions you can take when you have time among your busy schedule. They are things that aren’t necessary at this point, but that are additional if you want to get ahead. Every now and then I like to think of small things this that I can do that will add to my value, so stay tuned for more tips like these in future posts.

Next up: you can never be too prepared for graduation and the job hunt, so I will start with that in Step 10.

P.S. The count down for 2013 is on and this will be the year you make it in PR!

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