April 21, 2015
By: Jess Carnprobst, @jess_carnprobst
This past Saturday, Melaina Lewis, Allison Evans, Kelsey Miller and I traveled to Columbus for this year’s PaRtner’s Conference at Capital University. After attending last year’s conference at Ohio State, I was excited to see what was in store.
Capital welcomed us with some breakfast foods, juice and coffee, before starting the keynote speaker. Then at 9, we heard from Amanda DeCastro, who is currently working at Resource Ammirati and talked to us about the things we won’t learn in school. She told us to have an elevator speech, learn to speak in public, take big risks, build our online presence wisely, understand that we will fail, become an expert in one thing, listen, find a work/life balance that works for you, master the art of writing and storytelling, bring a pair of flats (this one was for the ladies), you will get hung up on when calling people, don’t burn bridges and lastly my favorite advice, make your passion your paycheck.
In our first breakout session, we chose to attend the “art of the resume” workshop, gaining a professional’s understanding of the resumes we turn in. Here we learned that it’s important to be careful when choosing to create a design heavy resume, because every professional looking at it will have a different opinion. To reiterate on something we’ve learned at OU, they stressed the importance of tailoring resumes to a specific job and finding a way to link the skills gained in a previous position with the job description of the position you’re applying for. Others attended the personal branding workshop, which helped those students gain further understanding to the importance of establishing and maintaining a brand both on and offline.
For session number two, we moved downstairs to learn more about advanced internships, while some stayed upstairs to learn about internships 101. Here, we were prepared for the difference between college life and a job. They stressed the importance of remembering to ask questions as a new full-time employee, and to own the projects you will be given. This is your job now and it’s expected that you do well.
Next, the moment we had been waiting for, a picnic with professionals! Capital University packed us boxed lunches and gave us an informal opportunity to talk with speakers and local professionals, while enjoying our food.
After lunch, we participated in a PR campaign competition seeking to help the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus give thanks to their many volunteers, while recruiting new volunteers. Each of the three groups had an hour to create a news release, social media component, overall goal and strategy and an additional component. All three teams created unique yet exciting campaigns and pitches. Kelsey’s team walked away with the best news release, Melaina’s team walked away with the best pitch and Allison and my team walked away with the best social media campaign and overall campaign.
Overall, this day reinforced the importance of getting to know members from local PRSSA chapters. Between sessions and during the lunch, it was nice talking to other students and hearing their perspective on things, as each school structures their PR classes and PRSSA differently. We all had a fun day of networking in Columbus, and came away with reinforced understandings as well as new perspectives!