10 Things to Do Before You Graduate
By Alyssa Fea
When you come to the PRSSA and Pack meetings, you are flooded with advice on how to better yourself in the public relations world. We realize that you are not all taking notes. Everyone is so busy that it’s easy to let that information go in one ear and out the other. We are students too and we understand!
Here is a list of 10 important things NC State’s PRSSA advises you to do before you graduate with a PR degree from NC State:
1. Experience internships.
We are sorry for the repetition of this advice, but experience is a crucial part of developing public relations skills. It will show you which area of PR you are interested in and, more importantly, which paths you’re not interested in. There’s only so much you can learn from the classroom. Hands-on experience is memorable and helps you connect the content of the classroom to the real world.
2. Write for your university’s newspaper.
It is an easy way to accumulate writing samples before you graduate. Writing for the Technician is a great way to learn how to relate to the media. You can take on as little or as many stories as you would like. Practice in the newsroom is essential to have solid writing skills. When an intern’s work requires little to no editing, it is impressive.
3. Keep a current resume.
I would hope that all of you already do this but if not, here is the scoop: look up examples of resumes and use the format to fill in all of your personal information and experiences. Don’t wait to make a resume until you find a job you want to apply for. It takes time and reviewing. Fill in your resume to keep it current so it’s ready to go when a job or internship opens up. As soon as you start or finish something with substance, add it before it escapes you. Success is when preparation meets opportunity!
4. Maintain the best GPA possible.
A high GPA shows that you are hardworking and dedicated. Take the time to start your homework early. Let your friends know you’ll see them on Friday night. It may be true that you can study on the bus tomorrow morning, but devotion is a habit you’ll use for the rest of your life.
5. Look for a mentor.
We’ve all heard that with age comes wisdom. Find someone to turn to with questions and concerns through your time here. Look for someone you’re comfortable with. Some examples are your advisor, favorite professor or a recent graduate.
6. Study today’s social media.
Since we are in college and at the prime age to know everything about social media, we will be expected to know all about how to use each site. It is a good idea to familiarize oneself with popular social media outlets.
7. Collect a professional wardrobe.
All students are on a budget and have less time to shop than we want. One item here and one item there will add up over time. Take good care of your clothes so they will last you until after graduation. You don’t want to break the bank once you enter the professional world.
8. Squeeze in volunteer time.
Not only does volunteering look great on your resume, but it also releases stress. Get off campus and put time into bettering the world and the stresses of school will disappear for a few hours. It’s also a simple way to meet some likeminded people. As motherly as this sounds, it also helps build character.
9. Contact agencies that appeal to you.
Ask them what they look for in new-hires. Ask them if you can come tour the company or shadow someone for a day. Try to get a feel for whether or not the workers enjoy the job. Is it an atmosphere that you would like to be in everyday?
10. Create a portfolio.
It can even be an e-portfolio. It is important to be able to showcase your work. Get together press releases, PRSSA blog posts 😉 and anything else you’re proud you wrote. This is a distinguished way to show that you are tech savvy compared to the plain, old resume.