Written by Danielle Julian, 2017 PRINZ Student Ambassador, AUT University
Earlier this month, after getting lost in Parnell and ordering an Uber to get to where I needed to be (again). I attended my first PRINZ event titled Insights from Young Professionals.
The panel featured five young professionals, two from consultancies and three that worked in-house.
Each panel member is currently working in a different industry. One worked in a consultancy that specialised in food and beverage communication, while another worked internally at a top-tier law firm.
Their journey to how they landed their current jobs had also varied. Two panellists studied Public Relations at AUT, just like me. Another two became public relations people after first having a career in journalism. All the panellists talked about their love of writing as a major pull factor towards public relations. It was evident to me that different experiences and expertise will lead a person into a particular public relations position.
This gave the event a point of difference from the handful of guest-lectures I had in my undergraduate degree when only one PR/Communications person would come in to tell us about their experiences. The panellist’s insights were also grounded in a few years more experience than the stories I hear from my university friends who have only been in their jobs for around four months. Public Relations is a varied field, and their stories reminded me what attracted me to study Public Relations in the first place. Other than wanting to follow in the footsteps of my cousin, Nicola who practices PR in Ireland.
Their stories and tips were invaluable. For me, the stand out tip was all about time management. In PR, hard work should be defined by getting outputs done on time, but if you are working till midnight every night, you need to re-evaluate how you are performing tasks and any distractions from your day that could be easily adjusted.
Another key tip when applying for your first positions, it is important to consider not only the skills you have gained from your experiences at university and in internships but also from any part-time retail jobs or even responsibilities you took on in your final years of college and volunteering.
Personally, for me, this means that I can tell potential employers that I have experience in managing client expectations after spending many Saturdays explaining to people that if they want to go from brunette to platinum blonde, it will cost more than $100 and won’t be achieved in just one visit. I also have experience managing teams, pitching and representing an organisation. In my final year of college, I was a Lead Student and was given the opportunity to not only create a training programme for the school visitor guides and have the chance to escort the Deputy Principal’s Association around the college. I also wrote and coordinated a presentation to my old intermediate to why my high school would be a great place to further their education.
Apart from the insights from the young professionals, the highlight of the event which was not on the blurb was the opportunity to network with students from other universities. This event made me realise that for the past three years, I was living in an AUT bubble.
Going to this event, I met students from WINTEC, Massey University and one of the attendees had studied in Canada. My inner-nerd came alight, as we discussed our respective universities and how the courses were taught. Which showed me that not only is public relations practice a varied and exciting field but the way practitioners educated at different universities also varies. Having an idea about these difference of opinions and which tactic get favoured by which people, I believe will be important as we can now begin our careers as open-minded practitioners and not still in our own bubbles. I now believe that there is not one best way to practice public relations, communications must be tailored to the people being communicated to. Public relations is varied because publics are people and people are different from one another.
I urge all my fellow students to attend the upcoming PRINZ events, not only for what the event blurb promises but for the networking opportunities and conversations you will have with like-minded and interesting people. Insights from Young Professionals was definitely one of the most exciting and rewarding Monday mornings I had had in a long time.