Student Insights from Careers 101

By Nneka Van Gronigen

The jump from college to career can be unnerving, but PPRA’s Careers 101 event caters to college students looking to learn how they can make the transition smoother. PPRA held this year’s Careers 101 event at Drexel University.

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As a Drexel student and president of Drexel’s PRSSA chapter, I had the opportunity to see this event from its planning stage to its fruition, and was amazed at the efforts required to secure an appropriate space, as well as recruit a strong panel and moderator. During the event, we heard exceptional insights from professionals who graduated in the last couple of years, showing us that we aren’t too far off from professional life.

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Students from several local universities were present, including LaSalle and Temple, as well as PPRA members, which was great for making new connections and maintaining old ones.
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Professional headshots by Modern Luxe Photography were available, and it felt like middle school picture day all over again. Knowing the value of a professional picture, I upgraded my LinkedIn profile and obviously sent a copy to my mom.

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Attendees also had the option to get their resumes critiqued by a PPRA member who gave fresh perspectives and edits from an employer standpoint.
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The panelists shared insights on networking, interviewing and being the “newbies” in the workforce. Rachel Christie, a panelist, reminded us “It’s okay to ask questions. Don’t make assumptions.”
Some key takeaways from the panelists included:

  • Get a mentor and some internships. These connections will make you stand out to employers.
  • Be yourself in the interview. You’ll be happy knowing that you’re comfortable in your environment and that the role fits who you are.
  • Networking can be nerve racking, but do it! Bring a friend if that makes you more comfortable and research the attendees before you go.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a job. There are a lot of reasons it didn’t work out — and the reason may just be that someone else was a better fit for that specific job.
  • Handwrite personal thank you notes. In the digital world it shows that you valued the person enough to spend time writing and mailing a thank you note.
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    The panel concluded with a raffle of some valuable networking and informational interview opportunities. I was excited to win a breakfast with Matt Cabrey, Executive Director of Select Greater Philadelphia. Other prizes included admission to PPRA events, shadowing opportunities and more. The panelists and attendees ended the night with networking and refreshments.
    Overall, Careers 101 provided attendees with great resources, including headshots, resume critiques, networking and excellent tips from a relatable panel.

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Nneka Van Gronigen is a junior at Drexel University and president of Drexel’s PRSSA chapter.

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