Written by Gracie Ratterree
Every person has that moment in their life when they have to make a pivotal career decision. Without adequate information, anxiety builds up, and fear may ensue. All of the what-if questions start racing through your mind. Questions like, “what if I don’t have enough experience?” or “what if I’m choosing the wrong industry or organization?” These thoughts can be overwhelming, causing you to make decisions that may not be suitable for your long-term goals, or can cause you to miss an opportunity. Don’t worry! These qualms can be resolved, all you have to do is a little research.
Whenever you hear or read the word “research” you may envision spending hours on a computer or with your head in a book collecting information, but research doesn’t stop there. Research can look like job shadowing, interning, networking with professionals, doing agency tours, and more.
Last semester I got the opportunity to tour marketing and public relations agencies around Kansas City, Missouri. I visited and met the “behind-the-scenes” stars working at Trozzolo, Bernstein-Rein, and Fleishman Hillard, who provided insight on what it’s like to work at an agency. This included seeing their day-to-day schedules and routines, walking through thought processes for large projects, witnessing creative outlets, and getting a feel for an agency environment.
Through this experience, I was able to meet many professionals who shared their stories and explain how they’ve become the successes that they are today. Being able to talk through professional struggles with experts and learning alongside my peers and others from surrounding schools provided perspective. I was able to not only learn more about agency work and structure, but also feel out the environment for myself. I was able to get a better sense of belonging, or lack of it by being physically present in that space.
By pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, meeting new people, and learning about the public relations industry, I was learning about myself. I was doing research. To do research means to continue learning, to expand your knowledge, to learn what you like and dislike. Research is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Being confident in your research will help you eliminate any doubts or fears you may have about your future career by helping you to make well-informed, logical, and suitable decisions.
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