By Katie Hogue
Bloomington, Ind. — On Wednesday, September 30, PRSSA hosted a young professionals panel comprised recent IU grads Matt Zetzl from RATIO Architects, Becca Dupont from Finish Line, Luke Zimmer from University Risk Management & Insurance Association, and Milana Katic from IU Communications.
Panelists from left to right: Luke Zimmer (URMIA), Becca Dupont (Finish Line), Matt Zetzl (RATIO Architects), and Milana Katic (IU Communications). Picture by Tori Lawhorn.
The panel answered questions from the audience in a Q&A, but many Chapter members tweeted in their questions beforehand using the hashtag #YoungPRosIU. The young pros fielded questions from club members on topics such as interview tips, how they obtained their current jobs, and what their day-to-day life is like.
Here are the three best nuggets of advice from the young professionals:
- The time to network is now
You may think that networking is just for people who need something, like a job. Or you may think it’s just between someone who is older and well established and young professionals. In truth, all the panelists agreed that networking can happen between friends, people of all ages, and is especially important to keep up when you don’t need anything. Becca Dupont said that she is just waiting for friends and colleges to send her an email to ask how her job is going. She loves networking and doesn’t believe anyone should wait to get started or be afraid to try.
Some ways to get started networking now are adding professionals you know on LinkedIn, introducing yourself to speakers after events, attending agency tours, and setting up informational interviews.
- Build your resume
Make sure you have relevant experience to talk about in an interview. Having an internship is great, but there are other ways to get involved in PR. One way to do this would be to join a committee in PRSSA, or take on a leadership role. Other opportunities that are invaluable are taking technical skills classes or joining the Bateman team.
Bateman is a competition hosted yearly by PRSSA National. It offers PRSSA chapters across the country the chance to research, plan, implement and evaluate a PR campaign for a real client. This year’s client is Student Veterans of America.
- Don’t Stress
All the panelists agreed that stressing out over interviews or applications is a waste of time. Milana Katic said she did not start searching for a job until April of her senior year.
The panelists said that you will face rejection in this highly competitive industry, but not to be discouraged. Matt Zetzl believes that you should treat everything as a learning opportunity. If you don’t get called back after an interview, he encourages you to call them back and ask about what you can improve upon.
If you learn from your mistakes and calmly think through any problem thrown at you, you will do just fine.