By Mari Behovitz
“Freshman year I was intimidated, shy, and had absolutely no clue which direction I wanted to go into within the Advertising and Public Relations field. I was completely lost on how I should approach getting a job within the industry.
If any of you feel like this now, don’t worry, there is hope. After only three short years I will be graduating with my degree in Advertising and Public Relations. I’m no longer that scared freshman not sure of where to go, but an excited young professional who is ready to apply their knowledge in the field.
Bridging the Gap
Want to know how I bridged the gap? Here are three ways I did it and how you could too:
1) Join clubs in your major
The first and one of the easiest steps an advertising and public relations student can take is to join one or both of our majors clubs, Advertising Club and/or Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). There are a lot of clubs offered at GVSU, but it is rare that one major has two excellent professional clubs established. Not only are these clubs resume fillers, but they also interactively help integrate the gap between the classroom and the actual industry. Taking advantage of these clubs has been the starting point for me.
Joining a club means meeting a new professional from the advertising and public relations industry at every meeting. It means touring agencies and seeing our industry in the real world. These two clubs are your ticket to endless networking and learning opportunities. I guarantee that by joining one or both of these clubs you will find other opportunities coming your way simply by just being an active member.
2) Take advantage of parent chapters
Both Ad Club and PRSSA have a parent chapter: The American Advertising Federation for Ad Club and Public Relations Society of America for PRSSA.
These two parent chapters offer some incredible networking opportunities at a discounted price for students! Admission into a lot of these events is pricey so take advantage of the student rate while you still have the chance.
If at any of the events you have a good conversation with one of the professionals, ask them out for coffee or to converse with them more over email. Take advantage of your new professional connection and continue to pick their brain. Don’t be shy, they want to help young professionals like yourself be successful within the industry. Of course be courteous of their time because they are all very busy!
3) Find a mentor
Many people have told me that it is valuable to have a mentor as you go through college. As an advertising and public relations student here at Grand Valley, I do not have just one, but many professionals who have helped prepare me for my future career. Each and every professor in our program is willing to help and make connections for you, given you are working hard and participating in class. You aren’t just going to get a free handout, but if you put in the work they will definitely be there to help you along the way.
Taking the initiative and bridging the gap can be a little overwhelming, which that is why I prepared a few important tips on how you can do just that:
- Join Advertising Club and PRSSA and watch the opportunities come your way!
- Attend the clubs parent chapter’s events! Who knows, going to so may lead to an internship or job. At the very least it will lead you to connections and most likely FREE food.
- Don’t be afraid to capitalize on the very helpful professionals and professors we have in our industry. Buy them a coffee and I am sure they would be happy to chat!
Start with doing at least one of these, and I promise you will find some success!”