By: Ashleigh Mavros
Just because you didn’t land your dream internship or you wanted to work to save money this summer doesn’t mean you can’t return in the fall with a better insight into the PR world. This is your golden opportunity to get ahead with some simple tasks that you haven’t had the time for or quite frankly haven’t crossed your mind. Stay on top of your game and make the following your list of to-do’s before your summer vacation is over.
Connect. Now is the time to pull out the stack of business cards and a list of contact information to get in touch with the connections you’ve made over the year. Something as simple as sending an email to let them know what you’ve been up to or asking a burning question you may have is sufficient. Even better, if you’re in town try to meet for coffee. “To me, it’s not so much about the initial outreach; rather, I’m more likely to remember a student who ‘checks in’ every once in a while,” said Experience Columbus Marketing Coordinator Sandi Combs. Dig back through all your contact information from PRSSA speakers, past internship advisors, and connections made at networking events and start building that connection base.
Blogs. Since you’re out of class you may feel disconnected to any news and information relating to the industry; it’s time to head to an online blog to get your daily dose of PR. A favorite among professionals and students alike is PRDaily.com which features useful articles on topics ranging from social media, crisis planning and marketing. Other blogs to keep an eye on include Technorati.com and Mashable.com. By checking in weekly with a favorite PR-related blog, you won’t feel like you’ve been hiding under a rock come fall.
Informational Interviews. “The biggest thing is making a connection in the professional world. And if an opportunity comes up for an internship or entry-level job in my office, it’s nice to have a few students who I know might be good candidates for that role,” said Andy Dearth of Live Nation on opportunities that one day may come from informational interviews. Set up an interview with a firm or business you might be interested in, especially one in which you already have a connection. Do some research before the interview, have a list of questions prepared and look at the interview as a learning experience and a networking opportunity that will give you incredible insight.
Books. Yes, it’s summer and you don’t want to even think about picking up anything remotely similar to a text book. However, if you have any interest in the ever-changing roles that social media and technology play in PR, you won’t be able to put these two books down. Likeable Social Media by David Kerpen explores every vital social platform in today’s society including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and more. The emphasis on the two way connection and discussion with an audience through social media makes you double think the way of the past of throwing information at an audience. David Meerman Scott returns with an updated version of his original book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Scott details how traditional media has changed, especially in the case of no longer needing the middle man of media to deliver your message.
Update. You’ve got another year under your belt so it’s time to update that resume, portfolio, and online sites such as LinkedIn with all your accomplishments from this past year. Make sure your social networking sites, professional sites and resume all correlate with the same updated information. You can even add your upcoming positions or roles to get a head start. No doubt you have clips or design pieces to add to your portfolio; keep adding to material you already have or get everything together to finally start a portfolio.
No internship? No problem. Stay on top of your game this summer and you’ll be back in the fall with the experience as if you had never skipped a beat.