Working in public relations, regardless of what industry, can be extremely rewarding and exciting. As a PR professional your career will involve working with brands from the development stage, product naming, copy-writing, product photography and most importantly product placements – everyday brings a new challenge. How can you get the experience you need to launch an exciting PR career in product development? Here are five tips to get you started while you are still completing your degree.
1. Create a strong writing portfolio. College and University students should consider majoring in Marketing, Communications or Media Relations programs as a first step. Choose your minor based on your ideal target industry – product or service marketing as an example. View each article or essay you write as a future component to your job portfolio. Ask your professor if you can get extra credit to write a product or event press release.
2. Create personal brand credibility and establish yourself as an expert. What are your interests and what can you contribute to online conversations? Comment on blogs and join LinkedIn groups to establish a network of influencers. Start your own blog and network with other bloggers in your desired industry. With online marketing changing, blogger connections are extremely beneficial to future employers. Join your local public relations society as a student member and ask questions – network with established PR professionals. Apply for all awards that will make you stand out from your peers. Once you graduate, you will have some invaluable connections and a better career focus.
3. Manage your personal online presence and stay well connected across social media platforms. Consider using an online management tool to keep track of everything in one place. Rapportive is an excellent tool to monitor your Gmail contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. BrandYourSelf.com will help you control your personal brand in search engines – see what comes up online before future employers do. Create an About.me page to showcase your strengths and career goals and include your personal link in your email signature.
4. Get work experience while you are still in school. Consider interning part time with different types of public relations work environments. Do you want to work for a large product manufacturer, a PR agency or even for the media? Magazines offer incredible internship opportunities and will help you understand your audience when pitching products in the future.
5. Ask questions and find a mentor. Do you know what your current professor did before teaching? Is there an opportunity to help organize an event at your college? Can you interview an established public relations professional? Is there an opportunity to volunteer with projects? Can you help someone re-brand their organization for your portfolio?
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