One can never underestimate the importance of attending professional conferences. While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that conferences are made up of typical professionals wearing the same grey suit, uncomfortable rooms and monotone speakers, we should never assume the cons outweigh the pros.
As someone who has never attended a PRSSA National Conference but has engaged in his fair share of professional development events and workshops, I can attest that there are ample things to look forward to.
1. You’re not just networking, but you’re developing professional friendships.
Networking opportunities for public relations students are critical as we enter the career field. While that is something we can all look forward to doing at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference, we can also look forward to developing awesome friendships with people across the nation. And typically these friendships do not strictly revolve around business. One thing that is apparent among public relations students and professionals is that we all love meeting new people. Expect to leave Atlanta with 1,000 plus new friends, not just professional connections.
2. You get the opportunity to experience a city where public relations is thriving.
Public relations pros are known for their willingness to travel for work. To find that ideal job we may have to move to a larger city like New York, Chicago or (you guessed it) Atlanta. Attending this year’s Conference will allow you to experience the great city of Atlanta. Traveling in college is key to determining where you want to secure your first job (or settle down). At the bare minimum, attending Conference will allow you to see what Atlanta is all about.
3. You can build your professional portfolio.
Attending professional event such as the National Conferences builds your credibility. Being able to reference past experiences at professional events when entering the career field will further develop your professional presence. It shows that you are a person who is willing to learn more by attending sessions and workshops, that you have confidence to go places where you may not know anyone and reflects your drive to be on the forefront of the industry. Better yet, producing something of value following professional events like a blog post, informational report or recap to add to your portfolio earns you an extra credibility gold-star.
There’s no doubt that PRSSA is an organization that appropriately prepares public relations pre-professionals to enter the “real world.” Take the opportunity to engage with PRSSA on a national level and take advantage of what the Conference has to offer in Atlanta. Despite not going in the past, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
What are you most looking forward to at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference in Atlanta?
PRSSA Vice President of Public Relations Nolan Miles is a student at Western Kentucky University and the senior news experience designer for Western iMedia. Follow him on Twitter @no_miles, Facebook or LinkedIn.