As an undergraduate at American University studying Public Relations and Strategic Communication, my impending entry into the workforce is quite daunting yet extremely exciting. Through internships and insightful professors, the world of public relations seems less intimidating than it once was. And though I still have countless lessons to learn, there are several I hope to learn while in the classroom. Amy Jacques, managing editor of publications for PRSA, recently spoke with PR professionals about important lessons to teach today’s PR students:
- Changing Technology: The evolution of technology is rapid and uncertain. Gloria Barone Rosanio of Cigna says she stresses that students “need to understand the client’s or organization’s needs and how to meet them, and incorporate social media into a broader strategic platform.” According to Barone Rosanio, using social media isn’t only about having fun, it’s about understanding “how social media can meet a client’s or organization’s objective.” Giving students the tools to navigate changing technology can set them up for success in their future careers.
- Social Media in the Classroom: Because many college students are fluent in social media, it is important to learn how to use social media in a strategic business-sense. Barone Rosanio encourages her students “to create a robust social media plan that is integrated with an overall PR plan.” While social media is becoming more integrated in public relations, it is important to understand how it fits in a strategic plan.
- Learning PR Tools: As with technology, public relations tools are constantly changing. Tina McCorkindale of the Institute for Public Relations notes that “the fundamental basics of a PR education are still critical — writing, research and design principles,” but future public relations professionals “need to be open to new ideas, and find creative ways to solve problems.” Creativity and strong writing skills are the backbone of any successful PR professional.
These lessons are important for any soon-to-be public relations professional to learn. Whether in the classroom or an internship, taking these lessons and applying them to your work can help you stand out among your peers.