Next we attended an etiquette luncheon where we learned proper table manners for a business meal. I learned what each fork is for and which foods to stay away from (cherry tomatoes and olives with pits!). I also got to meet a few students in PRSSA that I didn’t know before, which was nice.
After lunch, we split up again for more lectures. The first lecture I attended in the afternoon was about In-House PR and finding your niche. The speaker was Laura England, who is the VP of Communications at for the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association. Her story was quite interesting, as she has worked for the company for most of her career. She even gave us some tips for interviewing: have lots of writing experience (grammar is crucial to impress) and have some skills in photography, you never know when they’ll come in handy.
During the final break out session, I heard from Meredith Topalanchik: “Get into Gear with a PR Agency Career.” She is a VP at CooperKatz. She had some interesting things to say about working for an agency. She says that working for an agency gives you experience right out of the gate. She was very insistent that we experience PR at an agency at some point because you can get well-rounded practice in the field. Agency work requires multitasking, organization and a go-getter attitude. She also took the opportunity to give us some advice in our job searches. “Learn from my mistakes:”
- No matter what, do NOT accept a job on the spot. Tell them you need a day to think about it. If they really want you, you can get more out of them if you give it a little time. 😉
- If you bring in new business, you are more than likely to be noticed for the next promotion.
- Take a variety of internships: a small agency, a large agency, a corporation.
- When interviewing, ask to speak with Account Coordinators and interns to get a feel for the position. You want to fill a position where somebody just got promoted, not where they quit!
- Make decisions based on what you know at the time. Use the information you have in the present.
Overall, the lecture was really interesting and made me consider the kind of internships will explore. I will definitely take some of her advice as far as interviews as well!