Ready or not, National Conference is here! The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) 2014 National Conference, Intersections: The Meeting Place of Communications and Culture, welcomes all PRSSA members. This year’s Conference is in Washington from Oct. 10 to 14. Setting the tone for national unity, the five-day professional development journey includes agency and career tours, nationally-recognized keynote speakers, numerous panels, specific area-related workshops, networking events and socials.
It is common for students to feel under prepared for the five-day event that will transform their career paths. In an environment with endless opportunities, you may be wondering how to look the part, what items to have with you, and what to say as you grow, network and immerse yourself in the public relations world. As the crucial event creeps around the corner, it is important to know what essential tools to have by your side. Some of these tools are right at your fingertips, and there are others you don’t need to pack! So, let’s break it down.
1) Resume: Bring several copies of an updated resume. As mentioned before, there will be hundreds of public relations professionals at the Conference who are interested to see the next generation. Be prepared to show potential employers what you have to offer; this will set you apart from your peers right at the start.
2) Business cards: Carry copies of your personal card. This is a quick way to build your network and share your information with peers and possible employers.
3) Elevator speech: The 30 seconds you have to sell yourself must be perfected before this event. It can be difficult to set yourself apart while in a sea of fellow PRSSA members. So, take some time before the Conference and create an elevator speech that shows your individualism and make you stand out!
4) Pad-folio: Stay organized at the Conference and have a pad-folio or briefcase with you. This is a great way to carry your resume, business cards and pens while keeping track of the information handed your way.
5) Phone charger: Need I say more? Conversing with several people, constantly updating your social media and capturing memories will demand that your smart phone is fully charged and in the palm of your hand to keep you in the loop.
6) Twitter handle: Social media is where conversations begin and grow! Create a professional Twitter account so you can participate in the conversations occurring throughout the Conference. This is a great way to network with fellow members and public relation professionals who have endless amounts of information to share. If you are already on Twitter, follow @prssanc and use #PRSSANC!
7) Professional dress: Don’t forget this is a formal event that requires both business casual and business professional dress. If you have any questions, ask those around you who are more familiar with this dress code or look online for examples.
8) Open mind: Last but not least, having an open mind at the Conference will make the journey more enjoyable and insightful. Attend a workshop or tour an agency that would not typically be interesting to you to broaden your experience. Where else will you have the opportunity to sample everything the public relations industry has to offer?
Take advantage of your PRSSA membership and grow with your Chapter this year at the PRSSA 2014 National Conference. This is a milestone for your professional development and an opportunity that can change the path of your future. It takes meeting the right people, making the right friends and learning about the right field to kick-start your successful career.
By Ali Geary
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.