I knew that graduating from college and starting my first job would be both exciting and nerve-racking. Throughout the semester I told Nicole some of the things that worried me, and I asked a lot of questions. I am so thankful for her guidance during the past few months and I cannot wait to turn my tassel next week! Recently, I sat down with Nicole for a little Q & A session where I asked her questions that I know a lot of other PR students have.
Q: Now that I have started working at my first full-time job, I am happy. Before I made my decision however, I worried that I would choose the wrong path. Did you ever experience this anxiety? How do you recommend overcoming this?
A: I would say to go with your gut feeling. If you feel good about the situation during the interview process, and like what the job has to offer, then it’s probably a good job for you. Also, don’t be afraid of the unexpected. You may be working somewhere you never thought about working but that’s ok. Just try to get as much experience as you can.
Q: What activities were you involved in after college (or are currently involved in) that you would recommend using to stay up to date with current PR trends?
A: I would recommend getting involved with your local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter to stay connected to the PR community and stay abreast of current trends. It’s also important to expose yourself to things you don’t have experience in or wouldn’t normally do. Take a photography class. Attend seminars and webinars. Utilize every opportunity, especially if your boss is willing to pay for it to help your professional development.
Q: If a young professional eventually wants to do what you’re doing and run their own business, what steps do you recommend taking to get there?
A: It helps to have a diverse resume. I worked in healthcare non-profit, television and corporate PR, so had a lot of experience when I started NEA Group. I also had a strong network, so I relied on them (still do) for business. Most important, be passionate about what you do. As a small business owner, there are great times and there are hard times, so you have to be willing to roll with the punches. But if you truly love what you do, it makes everything manageable.
Q: What additional advice do you give students who are coming out of college? What do they need to know and what trends should they be aware of?
A: These days, new grads already know a lot about social media, so that’s definitely a plus. But I can’t stress enough that they should also know how to write. PR people need to know how to write effectively, even in the world of social media. A good writer is like gold, so having strong writing skills gives them an edge in the business world. I also think new grads should be prepared to pay their dues. You have to put in your time before you make it to a place where you want to really be. I’d also suggest finding a good mentor who will help you navigate the post-college business world.