Thirteen of my students went to San Diego for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) conference, which happens concurrently with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) conference I was attending. (One alumna second from right front row in photo; I'm the one with a beard)
I asked them to share the one most important thing they learned at the conference. Here's what they said:
- Definitely how to utilize resources and connections to my advantage, whether they are on social media sites, PR professionals, or fellow students. I've been on Twitter non-stop since!
- Attending the National Conference reinforced my choice to study public relations. I met outgoing, professional students from across the country, learned countless information about the profession and became close with the girls who went on the trip. The conference increased my motivation to do well in the profession. I hope the information and ideas I take back with me will motivate current Grand Valley PRSSA members to attend next year.
- As young PR professionals, we must...
...be lifetime learners.
...be proactive in the workplace and ask for feedback from senior staff members.
...be current, be curious, and be creative.
...actively intern and volunteer at various organizations and companies.
- You have to engage people. When your writing, speaking, blogging, tweeting, networking, pitching, messaging and promoting. You have to give your words value in order engage your audience.
- Know who you are and stay true to yourself. Be prepared to work your tail off in the early days and don't feel entitled to everything.
- I learned that it is okay to start at the bottom of the industry you want to be a part of. The conference reenforced that fact that a student is not going to get their dream job right out of college. Staying focused on the goal and committing to every task assigned (small or large) will set you up for success in the future.
- I learned that in some cases, not all PR is good PR and if you want to a make a connection with a professional, the incorrect way is to just hand them your resume and walk away; they will never remember you.