Real opportunities to get real experience

Real opportunities to get real experience in public relations and strategic communication at the University of Central Missouri.

Applying for jobs is a daunting task. Spending hours filling out applications only to receive an email stating the employer was seeking a candidate with three to five years of experience so unfortunately you were not selected is frustrating. How are you supposed to get that much experience while being a college student?

Sounds like mission impossible, right? Here are a few courses you can take as a public relations student that will help you stand out on a job application while giving you the experience employers are looking for.

Get an internship

UCM PR & Strategic Communications student interns for First United Methodist Church of Warrensburg.

At the University of Central Missouri, all students majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communications are required to complete at least one internship for credit before they graduate. Doing so provides great opportunities to gain real, hands-on experience.

Last summer, I was the Public Relations Intern for First United Methodist Church of Warrensburg. During my time, I completely rebranded their website and gained skills in leadership and problem solving. I had the opportunity to connect with members of its congregation and learned the value and impact of stakeholders on any given project.

Internships allow you to find what you are passionate about and what you are looking for in a job after graduation. Overall, it was a great chance for me to make a great contribution to my community and allowed me to be creative with the skills that I already possessed.

Join Innovative Public Relations

IPR students work with local client, the Johnson County Adult Literacy Program (JCALP)

This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. IPR allows you to work with a team in an atmosphere that functions just like an actual public relations agency. What I have loved about IPR is that if you want to learn a new skill, you have the opportunity to engage in a project with a real client that will allow you to develop this new skill.

For example, last semester the Public Relations and Strategic Communications academic program was one of our clients and I got to create a TikTok as a promotional tool. I have always been nervous to create media content because I have never done it professionally before, but my teammates gave me the confidence to go for it. By the end of this project, I learned that I could do almost anything. That sticks with me to this day.

IPR can also be used for elective course credit which is great because it allows you to work with real clients as your schoolwork. Every semester, IPR has different clients which means even more opportunities to gain more valuable skills that you can add to your resume to make you stand out. 

Take a course that will challenge you

Real opportunities to get real experience stem from taking courses that challenge you in college.

For my marketing minor I completed a digital marketing course which was nerve racking and highly rewarding. I learned how to create my own personal website that I can link to my resume, completed the Google Data Analytics Certification course, and learned how to leverage a variety of social media platforms. This has allowed me to grow as a young professional and to make my resume stick out compared to other job candidates. After taking this course, my job search has become an even bigger pool because I have the skills that fit digital marketing roles that I did not have before.

Overall, job searching can be stressful, to say the least, but you can set yourself up for success by always trying to better yourself personally and professionally. Personal growth in college can come from trying and experiencing new things. I challenge you next time you see a class or maybe a certification that remotely interests you to step outside of your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunity. You will never gain experience unless you experience the world around you.

Innovative Public Relations is a student-led firm that is part of the award-winning and nationally certified UCM Public Relations and Strategic Communication program. Students interested in a PRSC hands-on university major and exciting career can join the program in one of two ways: (1) traditional on-campus or (2) online. 


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