I get excited when Thursday comes around. It’s the day when I get to meet with the entire Innovative Public Relations team. Before the meeting starts, we all grab coffee, then head to the University Relations conference room. We start off by quickly talking about something fun, maybe share a few anecdotes, and then it’s time for business.
There are two teams, each focusing on one client, and together the teams are preparing another Social Media Night. They update each other on their campaigns’ progress and talk about things they can improve on or change. Then it’s time to brainstorm. Though Social Media Night was a huge success last year, it’s important to me that this years’ team leave their mark on the event, or else they won’t get anything out of it.
That’s what Innovative PR is all about. It’s an opportunity to get outside the classroom and apply your skills in real-world situations with real clients (and maybe win some awards while you’re at it). Students take everything they’ve learned in their PR classes and use them. What comes from the experience is a payoff you can’t get from reading and taking tests. You might also gain some knowledge that will make Campaigns a little less intimidating.
As the manager, it’s a focus of mine to find what students think their strengths and weaknesses are. If they struggle with writing, I try to find opportunities to write. If they struggle with presentations, I want to find them opportunities to do presentations. If they don’t quite understand how social media works, I want to get them some experience on various social networks. No matter what the challenge is, Innovative PR students are get practice because they’re exposed to just about everything.
For some, applying to Innovative PR is intimidating. They might feel as though an easier elective is a better investment of their time, or maybe they aren’t confident enough to apply. I was certainly one of those students who was intimidated by the idea of working in a firm as a student, but again, the payoff for me was great.
Don’t feel intimidated. This is an opportunity for your skills to improve. Go to the PR Suite, grab an application, and do the case challenge. You’ll find yourself in a “course” that is challenging, yes, but pays awesome dividends. The expectations are high, but they aren’t unreachable. Do something different. Have fun working with clients. Hone your skills. Boost your marketability.
– Jonathan Haile
Innovative Public Relations Manager