The funny thing about growing up is that you’re expected to take on more and more responsibilities. You get to venture into often uncharted waters in pursuit of “your future.”
College studies don’t necessarily prepare you for this. They provide you with the knowledge and the basic skills that will prepare you for that future, but they don’t actually make you ready for the realities of the workplace.. You can gain this experience through internships as well as part-time jobs.
It’s a scary proposition, this “adulting” thing. You’re going to be surrounded by others such as co-workers and friends who are working themselves. At times, they all may seem to have “adulting” under full control.
Bit of advice here, don’t obsess about other people’s lives! Good for them if they’ve figured it out! Take advantage of this and turn to them for advice and guidance. Benefit from their successes AND their mistakes.
The important thing, though, is that this is YOUR opportunity to blaze a potentially new trail. Throughout my professional public relations career, I never ceased to be amazed by how my younger colleagues approached challenges. Not everything worked as planned, of course, but we tried new things or approached old things from a different angle. We tried, and we learned in the process.
But how to get started on this adventure? Another bit of advice: “Don’t hesitate. Start now by connecting with professionals who can help you on your upward climb.” And, yes, it’s an “upward” climb … no blissful coasting along.
If you haven’t done so already, attend meetings of the PRSA Chapter serving the area where you hope to launch your post-grad career. If this isn’t geographically possible right now, turn to PRSA members in the Chapter where your college or university is located; ask them for names of PRSA members in the area you’re targeting so that you can start networking there. Odds are, someone will be able to help you get started.
Persistence counts, and you have to commit yourself to the challenge. Go to the local PRSA Chapter meetings; become known as a future public relations pro determined to make a go of it; the effort will pay off!
A quick word now about your internship(s) … you have completed at least a couple, haven’t you? One is good, but it’s the “low bar.” It’s the minimum requirement for most public relations majors/minors/concentrations. You want more. You want to experience different areas of the profession, and you’ll get that experience through multiple internships. And you get a chance to get a better handle on what type of industry you’re more comfortable working in (agency/corporate/nonprofit/public sector?). This, in turn, will help you better target the opportunities that offer the experience you’re hoping for.
So there you have it. The future, as so many wise ones like to say, is now. And it’s yours to conquer.
“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.” – Charles Franklin Kettering, “Seed for Thought” (1949)
Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an associate professor of communication (undergraduate) at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. He also is visiting lecturer, organizational and professional communication (graduate), at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. Prior to his move into academia, Hazlett practiced nonprofit and government public relations and marketing for more than 35 years in the U.S. as well as in Asia. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), he was inducted into PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 2009 and is one of just two actively teaching college professors in Massachusetts to have earned this distinction. You can read more of Hazlett’s musings at his blog, “A Professor’s Thought,” and follow him on Twitter @KirkHazlett.