Though we have had to unfortunately cancel our Young Pros Panel this semester in accordance with the university’s policies and for the safety and wellbeing of both our members and panelists, some of our panelists have still graciously shared their words of advice for current students and soon-to-be young professionals. Below, are the words of wisdom shared by recent Eastern Michigan University graduates and young professionals.
The first bit of advice comes from Demaia Coleman; Coleman graduated in 2019 with a degree in public relations. She now works as a social media advisor at General Motors. For students who are just beginning in their studies and thinking PR might be the right fit for them, Coleman says to not let the idea of pitching or writing press releases scare you. “PR encompasses so many different tasks and it's everywhere. You have to try a little bit of everything to figure out what you enjoy. Once you find what you enjoy, that's when you really start to take off.”
And for those students who may be graduating in the near future, Coleman stresses the importance of making connections: “Ask people for advice, reach out to people you look up to. It'll pay off when opportunities arise, and you've built a genuine relationship with someone.”
Alex Lipinski, another 2019 graduate of EMU, offered words of advice as well. Lipinski who is currently an assistant account executive at Identity, gave the following tips for students who are studying PR: “Do great work and know how to show it. A lot of PR is reporting to clients that the investment they have made in your services or your agency's services are worth it. Whether it is media placements or ad metrics, showing your results and translating the importance is half of the job. There are plenty of reporting tools you can learn to assist you with this, but ultimately it is up to you and your team to effectively come up with a strategy, execute it, and report your successes or failures with each other and the client.”
“Any student entering the workforce should understand that being timid or shy is not going to get you anywhere. Going into a new job is scary, and there are a lot of new people to meet and processes to learn,” he said, “But if you don't speak up to ask how something works, ask for feedback, ask for concrete deadlines, or ask for ownership on an exciting project, your shiny new opportunity will pass you by without any good coming from it.”
Our last words of wisdom come from former EMU PRSSA e-board member, Karissa Brumley. Brumley graduated in 2019 with a PR major and nonprofit administration minor and is now the senior marketing specialist at Cybercrime Support Network. For current students, she has two pieces of advice: First, “learn all aspects of PR because you never know where you’ll end up when you graduate. I focused a lot of my time in the program on social media, but I do very little social media work in my current role,” and second, to learn how to effectively communicate with your peers/coworkers because it is just as important as learning to communicate with the public.
“Don’t be afraid to try new aspects of PR that you didn’t think you’d like. I was set on working in social media, but my current role focuses on media relations, Google analytics, and brand management,” she said in regard to those entering the workforce for the first time. “As a young professional, it’s important to roll with the punches and be willing to try projects outside your comfort zone. Your employers will appreciate your ambition and willingness to learn.”
We hope that these words of advice are helpful for all future PR professionals, those about to graduate and those early in their studies!