Three months ago my life changed drastically. I went from being an unemployed college graduate with too much time on my hands, to a employed public relations and marketing professional. It’s been an exciting few months, and to say there’s a real life difference from being an intern to working as an entry-level professional is a huge understatement.
The difference between balancing classes, internships and clubs is astounding in comparison to balancing a full-time job, relationships, and life in general. Below, I break down the disparities of the PR world through my intern perspective vs. my professional perspective!
I hope the career lessons I have quickly learned over the past few months will help and inspire emerging graduates that are eager, stressed and confused about the future that lies ahead:
Intern Media Relations vs. Career Media Relations
Media Relations is a huge part of the PR industry. However, my experiences in media relations as an intern are extremely different to the media relations experience I am embracing as a nine-to-six professional. As an intern, I was responsible for organizing and welcoming media members to events, ensuring they were seated properly and receiving the correct event results or guidelines from start to finish. As a professional, the practice of media relations is more focused on building a relationship with media than organizing documents.
I now need to understand their platform, who they are as individuals, and build a trustworthy relationship that will bring proven results for my client, their product and my company. A rapport cannot be built in a classroom and it most certainly cannot be built overnight. Looking in on the industry from the outside, media relations is glamorous, fun and exhilarating. However, as a new professional, it is a challenge, and oftentimes stressful. New professionals can cope with these challenges by being consistent, striving to understand the platform and pitching it wisely. If young professionals adapt to these techniques, success will be waiting for them in the end!
Class vs. Work
The struggle for a full time student is unique for sure. I thought waking up for a 10:00 a.m. class was difficult, but waking up Monday through Friday is a total adjustment! However, the real adjustment is trying to apply what I learned in my classes to what I am actually doing at my desk. The transformation from learning out of a PR textbook in the classroom to actually practicing the PR technique is something that cannot be taught in a lecture hall. Pitching, writing press releases, participating in meetings and engaging in client calls are all skills I have been trying to pick up from coworkers, my bosses and endless blogs I read on a daily basis. I hate to say this (and I am sure my father will cringe if he ever knew this) my college classes were kind of a waste of time! Sorry Dad!
My career in PR has been a true gift so far! Every day, I am learning new ideas and strategies to make me more adept at my dream profession. I am also lucky enough to have found an agency that has welcomed me with open arms! My supportive team is allowing me to learn and bloom as I transition from intern to professional. It sure is a big one, but if you find your niche and enjoy the learning process, you’ll become a successful PR pro in no time!