Jump Starting Your PR Career
With approximately 1,706,000 students at the bachelor’s degree level projected to graduate in 2012, there are a plethora of young professionals who are about to begin their job search and enter the workforce. But, with lingering economic woes from the 2008 financial crisis and heightened unemployment rates, many will be looking for creative ways to jump start their career. Using your college’s alumni network is a great place to start, and, as Boston College alumnus, I’m always willing to share advice with up and coming Eagles as they embark on their career paths.
Last week, I played host to two Boston College seniors – Caroline Burns and Zoe McNealy – who were interested in learning more about what it’s like to have a career in the PR industry. Through BC’s Externship Program, students are given an opportunity to gain an understanding of a business, industry, and/or job function, ask questions, and observe firsthand the day-to-day activities of a BC alumnus. I was more than happy to share my experiences and insight into the PR field with Caroline and Zoe and have included some thoughts from each of the students about their experience below:
Last week, I had an invaluable opportunity to spend the day as an extern at March Communications. I was able to shadow Meredith Eaton and learn about a day-in-the-life of a senior account executive at March. Upon welcome, I realized how positive and hard-working the employees at March are. I really appreciated the close-knit community of employees at the boutique firm, as well as the open layout of the office, which allowed for proactive and engaged conversation throughout the day. I observed Meredith expertly juggle a multitude of tasks from blogging, tweeting, sending e-mails to clients, drafting Q&As, and doing research. It is obvious that being able to multitask is a key skill in the life of a PR executive. I was also able to talk to Rachel Leamon, a recent BU graduate and current account coordinator, and learn more about how to appropriately engage with journalists, put together media lists, and track media placements for clients. I realized that the benefits of interning at a boutique firm like March are being able to do work that is viable and gain recognition that would not come easily at a larger firm. Before this experience, I definitely did not realize that it is easier to work your way up the executive ladder by working in a smaller firm. The day left me with a huge wealth of knowledge about the hard work that goes into PR as well as greater confidence in my upcoming job search.
Going into my externship at March Communications, I was skeptical as to how much I could actually learn about an industry or career in one day. However, after shadowing Meredith, a Senior Account Executive, I found the experience to be very valuable and also a great introduction into the public relations field. As a senior at Boston College, majoring in Communications, I have held a few internships in marketing and event planning, which involved public relations at some point, but never anything dedicated to PR. Being able to participate in Meredith’s day-to-day activities was a great way to see what working in public relations involves. Whether she was interacting with clients, updating social media, or discussing upcoming projects, Meredith was sure to explain what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what the benefit or outcome would be. One of my favorite parts of the day was actually when we had lunch. Meredith and some of her co-workers offered advice on applying for jobs, gaining experience, interviewing, and even how they got to be at March, while also happily answering any questions thrown their way. In addition to our discussion, their interactions with one another during lunch and throughout the day made the atmosphere at March seem more like a community than a workplace, which seemed like one of the many benefits of working at a boutique PR firm. Overall, my externship at March Communications was an amazing learning experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work with Meredith and the rest of the March staff and I look forward to learning more about public relations in the future!