What PR Students Really Need to Know Before Graduating
The advice I give my PR students changes year after year, considering the industry itself evolves so often. That’s especially true now, both pre- and post-COVID. Before the pandemic, I often told students to think deeply about what they wanted or needed out of a job, before accepting any offers. But now that the economy has slowed and fewer jobs are available, I tell them to focus on getting their foot in the door.
The reality is that your first job won’t be your forever job. Instead, consider it as an opportunity to learn about the PR industry and discover what it is you like or don’t like, what it is you’re good at and what you can improve upon. Since you’re not married to your first employer, it’s okay to be selfish in the relationship. Set goals for yourself and make the most of it, whether it’s working on a big-name brand campaign to boost your resume, or seeking out new professional and media contacts to carry with you throughout your career.
Most importantly, don’t overdo your stay. If you’re at a company that you know is not a good fit for you, don’t be afraid to move on. Trust me, you’ll be better off in the end. I’ve had several former students land what they thought were their dream jobs, only to realize later that the job or the agency was less than glamorous. Those who decided to part ways sooner rather than later are consistently much happier.
Now, for any of you reading this who are just starting your PR careers, consider these pro tips to help you get off on the right foot:
For more tips and to hear what else I covered on my episode of the PR Wine Down podcast, check it out here.
Tara Wyckoff is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.