Today I gave a quick talk to the students of the Utica College PRSSA group about the job I do at Romanelli Communications as well as how brands are using social media to reach their audiences. Of course with graduation dates approaching, students are wondering how to best position themselves for the job market (and more specifically in the PR department). Here’s the top 3 points I wanted to drive home:
1 – Read your ass off. I was a bit surprised that by and large the group wasn’t actively consuming blogs that are written about their industry (and the future of it). Because this is where the medium is going, I tried to stress that they need to reading enormous amounts of material DAILY as well as leaving comments and adding to the discussion. Since colleges aren’t offering in-depth courses in Social Media right now and since Social Media is becoming such a huge piece of the PR puzzle, they really need to put in the hours to become as knowledgeable as possible once they get that job opportunity. Books like Trust Agents and Tribes should be standard issue reading as well as Beth’s Blog, PR Squared, Chris Brogan’s blog, HARO, and Mashable need to be on a daily reading list just to name a few.
2 – Write your ass off. Resumes are so 20th century. I know you still need a kick-ass one, but I tried to stress how important it is for PR students to have their own website or blog to show their writing skills, their design portfolio and build their own personal brand. It’s essential. They also have to NEED to be on LinkedIN and active. Building a network, asking questions and contributing to groups in their industry will build connections and let people know that you’re out there. It’s a great way to get introduced to experts in your industry or get recommended for a potential job.
3 – Show me, don’t tell me. If any of them go into an interview for a public relations job or ANY job for that matter, they should be able to show their resume and have the HR director pull up their website. On that website should be their posts about the industry, examples of their work, and maybe even a case study of how a Press Release they put out or an event they orchestrated was a huge success for a local non-profit (hint: volunteer your time. Non-profits need your expertise and its a great experience). Being able to show ROI for a project you weren’t even paid to do shows your chops and speaks to your character. Being able to SHOW a prospective employer that you have the skills necessary for that job (or are devoting lots of time to learning them) will set you apart from other candidates. I promise.
There was a lot more discussed and the group had some great questions about blogging, social media, and how businesses are using the tools. I won’t get into those here. But I did want to give a quick recap of what I thought the group wanted to have a discussion about and hopefully I was able to provide some good info to give them a leg up in understanding how social media tools are shaping the way PR works and the way people find jobs.
Big thanks to Megan Fariello for having me and congrats on her upcoming graduation in two weeks!