We all know what it’s like to sit through classes that don’t seem to connect with our careers. There comes a time when students have exhausted their opportunities for classroom learning and must make their entrance in the real world. Professors have experience, but no one can give practical advice like those who work in the field on a daily basis.
This month, rather than limiting yourself to the lessons taught in books, take the opportunity to sit alongside a current practitioner and learn what they have to offer. Maximize PRSSA/PRSA Relationship Month by learning from valuable mentors in the public relations field.
Reap the benefits of PRSA.
Not only does every PRSSA Chapter have a PRSA sponsor Chapter and Professional Adviser, but every PRSSA student has access to the PRSA Member Directory of 21,000 professionals. Students may also attend monthly luncheons and hear from leaders in the field. When distance becomes a hindrance, students may take advantage of free webinars and listen to industry-renowned leaders from the comfort of their own desk.
Connect with professionals.
Utilize the month of October to engage your sponsor Chapter digitally or in person. If your PRSSA Chapter is not geographically near your sponsor Chapter, coordinate a Twitter chat or ask to join their Facebook page. Active outreach doesn’t always have to be in person. However, if the opportunity presents itself, take the initiative to plan a networking event. Shaking hands and exchanging business cards will always be the best way to facilitate relationships.
Create a sustainable impact.
Take relationships outside of PRSSA/PRSA Relationship Month by creating a mentoring program at your school that pairs motivated students with experienced practitioners. Start out by assessing the number of professionals willing to take part and then gather the students who are most interested in a mentoring program. Match mentors with mentees through field interest surveys, experience and learning objectives. All of this will create a stronger foundation for mentoring relationships, priming both sides for success.
PRSSA/PRSA Relationship Month gives us the opportunity to escape the classroom and make connections to boost our careers. There’s no time like the present to take advantage of the resources at your fingertips. PRSA sponsor Chapters are eager to mentor the next generation of public relations professionals — all you have to do is ask.
Liz Skeele is the PRSSA 2016–2017 vice president of professional development. She currently attends Liberty University and will complete a degree in advertising and public relations in May 2017. When she isn’t in the library she can be found hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or watching a movie with friends.