What I learned at the CPRS Speed-Networking event for students on March 11, 2020
It’s Membership Month at CPRS! As a recent PR graduate from Cardiff University in the UK, I joined CPRS as a student member earlier this year. After studying and working in the UK for the past couple of years, I returned to Calgary looking for opportunities to tap into the public relations network. In only a few short months, I’ve volunteered with CPRS to keep my writing skills sharp but gained so much more! Something that I really appreciate about being a member is the personal mentorship I’ve received during a time in my life that feels very uncertain and have met so amazing PR professionals – many of whom I now consider lifelong friends!
But perhaps one of the greatest benefits of a CPRS membership are the networking and professional development events.
On March 11th I attended the CPRS Speed-Networking event at Craft Southcentre. The event was aimed at students and offered opportunities for us to network with PR practitioners in different industries. The roster of PR professionals included Danielle Hammond, Marketing Manager at Social School; Jordan Redshaw, Crisis Communications Manager at National PR; Linda Luu, seasoned marketing professional; Ashley Vilgrain, Communications Analyst at Inter Pipeline; and Jamie Campbell, Director of Operations at Parker PR.
Whether you were a shy or outgoing PR student, the format of the event meant students were able to ask their burning questions directly to PR experts as well as learn from other students’ questions in a small and intimate setting. Networking never felt so effortless!
Amongst the most pressing concerns for new graduates at the event? How do we get a job in 2020? Here’s a little of what I learned from the event:
- The greatest area of growth for communications professionals today is in digital storytelling – especially on social media. Companies need graduates with good digital fluency. Being able to demonstrate your digital skills through a portfolio of work, a blog that you promote, or your Instagram are unique opportunities that exist for PR students to stand out from the rest. Increasingly PR professionals are needed to share their company’s story across digital channels with the goal to improve earned media efforts. Opportunities for communicators to work in marketing also exist – with most jobs needed in paid advertising.
- The greatest skill gap missing from most organizations today? Digital analytics! So be sure to keep any schoolwork around defining KPI’s to analyze the performance of your campaigns. This is a great skill to add to your resume.
- Take advantage of the unique opportunities that exist before you graduate. Volunteer with organizations on campus or CPRS to show your interest in the field of PR and to practice your professional writing skills. It’s also a good opportunity to make friends and network – you never know when a new position could become available, so start early!
- Take part in an internship or co-op. Many companies are hiring now for summer internship and co-op programs that offer on-the-job training and professional experience.
The PR industry is an exciting one – constantly changing with opportunities in many different areas. I’m excited to embark on this new career path. Thank you to CPRS Calgary for giving me so many opportunities. And if you’re new to communications or looking to tap into the PR network – I hope to see you at the next event. For more info on how you can become a member and take advantage of the savings during Membership Month go to www.cprscalgary.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyssa Korte, MA, BA, is a guest blogger and volunteer for the student committee with CPRS Calgary. Having recently returned to Calgary after studying and working in the U.K., Alyssa is pursuing her passion in communications. Always up for an adventure, Alyssa spends her spare time travelling, playing superheroes with her favorite niece and nephew, exploring the outdoors, and geeking out to anyone who mentions Harry Potter. She has previous marketing experience in professional services and was a member of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).