The amazing talent of PRSSA and PRSA members continues to amaze me at this Conference. The morning Keynote Address was called “Meet the Living Legends of Public Relations.” We were joined by Fred Cook, CEO and President of GolinHarris and Peter Debreceny, Consultant at Gagen MacDonald.
These legends shared information about the future of public relations, tips for young professionals, and advice for making the most of an internship.
Cook began the discussion with a reference to Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Woods had a pink and scented resume and that made her stand out from the stiff crowd in law school. While Cook did not suggest these exact tactics, he recommended improvising a lot. He said it is best to be proactive and exercise good judgment.
Along those lines, the professionals suggested that at an internship, you have to be noticed. Senior leadership are always willing to help and listen, but interns rarely take advantage of this opportunity.
Cook said there are three skills that employers look most for in future employees: the ability to analyze, be creative, and be technologically savvy. These are some of the most important skills that are often lacking in new hires and that are imperative to having a successful career. Debreceny added that writing skills are also important along with the ability to make things happen by being proactive.
Above all, the professionals suggested that we make mistakes. Try something new and don’t be timid. Cook said that we often are too timid, like Clark Kent when we really should be Superman. We are often so afraid of offending someone that we don’t act on our instincts and be bold.
It is great to be supported by such helpful and wise public relations professionals in PRSSA. Not only does our network extend to those in our chapter, but also nationally with amazing professionals that can help us secure a job or internship in the future. I would not trade this opportunity for anything.