When you think of a mentor, you probably imagine someone established in their career with a keen sense of the PR landscape and a respectable list of connections. This past year, thanks to PRSSA, I’ve developed a different kind of mentor/mentee relationship—one with a peer and fellow Regional Ambassador. Lenie and I became fast friends after meeting in Boston for the PRSSA National Conference. From there, our friendship blossomed into one with a professional angle.
A judgement-free zone.
If I had a dollar for every question I’ve sent Lenie with the preface of “Don’t judge me for this but…” in front of it, I’d most likely be able to match an entry-level salary. Peer mentoring allows you the freedom of asking questions that you may be too nervous to ask a professional mentor.
A second-set of eyes.
They say that if you have 20 different people look over your resume or cover letter, you’ll get 20 different responses. A peer mentoring relationship offers another set of eyes to look over wording, personal branding and overall cohesiveness of your application materials. A second set of eyes on your materials can never hurt.
“Just do it.”
There are times when we dream about connecting with a certain professional and absorbing their wisdom. Whether you reach out via LinkedIn or a cold email, networking can be intimidating. I always love when I can text Lenie my concern and, in minutes, she responds with a pep talk akin to Olivia Pope. Sometimes, all you need is a little push and a cheerleader to get you over your fear.
Student today, colleague tomorrow.
One of the most valuable benefits of PRSSA is the network you create while in college. PRSSA has introduced me some truly inspirational peers—they work hard, they have giving hearts and they know how to have fun. One of the greatest gifts PRSSA could have given me was to meet the best and brightest up-and-coming professionals in the industry. The best part? One day, I get to call them my colleagues.
I will forever be grateful for Lenie’s friendship, both personally and professionally. Through the hour-long Skype calls, the frantic texts and the reassuring emails, Lenie has shown me what it means to be a leader and a true professional. I am so thankful for PRSSA for bringing me a person I would never have met otherwise but now, can’t imagine my life without.
Brian Hammel is a senior public relations and communication studies double major at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH. He currently serves as a Regional Ambassador and Chapter president of Otterbein PRSSA. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.