Careers 101: From a Young Professional’s Perspective

TempleCareers101

As a senior preparing to graduate from Temple University, a member of PRSSA’s Temple Chapter, an intern at the Philadelphia Bar Association, and a member of PPRA serving on its College Relations Committee, this year’s 10th Annual Careers 101 event will forever be memorable.

After reading my intern supervisor and PPRA’s President-Elect Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway’s pre-Careers 101 blog post, I got an idea of what Careers 101 could offer and it turned out just as great as I envisioned.

Commemorating PPRA’s 70th anniversary the 10th Annual Careers 101 event was one for the books. Students and young professionals got to hear insights from the following PPRA past presidents:

  • Moderator: David Brown, Managing Director, The Marketing Collaborative & Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children.
  • Bill Cowen, President, Metrospective Communications LLC & Professor/PR Program Director, Villanova University.
  • Bonnie Grant, Executive Director, Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress.
  • Cathy Engel Menendez, Communications Director, PECO.
  • Lisa Simon, President, Simon Public Relations Group, Inc.
  • Mark Tarasiewicz, Executive Director, Philadelphia Bar Association.

There was definitely much to be heard from the panelists and moderator, so much so that #Careers101 was trending on Twitter from all of the attendee tweets. Attendees also had the opportunity to have their resumes critiqued, their headshots taken and 10 lucky winners won shadow days and informational interviews with local PPRA leaders. Careers101Tweet

The event was held at The Liacouras Center on Temple University’s Main Campus, but Temple certainly was not the only school represented at the event. Students from La Salle, Stockton, Penn State Abington, Drexel, Villanova, Rowan and Monmouth universities were all present. This definitely made the event that much more rewarding. It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to network with students from other universities that share the same passion for PR as you.

The panel kicked off with a pop quiz about current events. This started the conversation on a great foot, directly relating to a major topic the panelists couldn’t stress enough. “You should know the local media and consume it every day,” said Lisa Simon. Mark Tarasiewicz said, “If you’re not well-read, Houston we have a problem!”

As a PR professional, it is our job to be “in the know” at all times, simple but vital advice. Knowing what’s going on locally and nationally is beneficial in so many ways. Not only does it give you topics to talk about while at networking events, it will also set you apart. If you can comment on important issues that are happening, professionals will recognize that. It shows that you care and it’s helping you learn and grow as a young professional.

“If you ever take your career seriously it should reflect on your social media. Add an element of advanced maturity to your social feed,” added Mark Tarasiewicz. This definitely hit home for me and probably most of the students and young professionals in the audience. Your social media can reflect your maturity level.  Being the generation that grew up with social media, it is easy to forget how much of an impact it can have. Bill Cowen also stressed the importance of maturity and emotional intelligence, which as a young adult can often be our weakness as we are taking our first steps into adulthood. “Emotional intelligence will serve you better than anything … become a storyteller!” said Bill Cowen.

The inevitable questions, “What do you want to do when you graduate? Where do you want to work?” Careers 101 helped ease those questions for me and hopefully a lot of other students. You may not know exactly what your calling is but as David Brown said, “Early in the industry, try everything.” All of the panelists expressed the importance of putting yourself out there. “Figure out what you are really good at, what gets you really excited. Credentials they matter, but performance is what will really define your career,” said Lisa Simon. Bonnie Grant added, “I want to see how you solve problems, that you can be a part of solutions.”

“If you’re resilient, you’ll be indispensable.” – Cathy Engel Menendez.

CareersTweet

All of the panelists gave amazing advice and provided me the reassurance I needed as I am about to graduate and embark into my adult life. Joining PPRA and having the opportunity to be on the College Relations Committee and help put together Careers 101 was beyond beneficial for me. As I am approaching graduation and meeting more and more PR professionals, it seems as if the [PR] world is getting smaller, especially in the Philadelphia area. Networking is extremely important and Careers 101 was a great platform for any student or young professional interested in PR.

Your Career is no joke and it’s time to start it!

Cara McArdle is a senior at Temple University majoring in Strategic Communication, concentrating in Public Relations and International Communication. She also interns at the Philadelphia Bar Association, is a PPRA member serving on its College Relations Committee and a member of PRSSA’s Temple Chapter. Follow Cara @CARAmel_appless on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/caramcardle.

Advertisements

Careers 101: The Difference a Decade Makes

CAREERSIMG

Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway (third from left) with the Temple PRSSA Executive Board at Careers 101.

Register Today for PPRA’s 10th Annual Careers 101

One decade ago, I jumped on the Broad Street Line with several other members of our PRSSA “e-board” and left Temple University’s Main Campus to attend PPRA’s Careers 101 event for students and young professionals.

As we walked into the building at U Arts, I can remember how nervous we all were.  This was our first professional event, where we tried our best to look and act the part. In retrospect, we truly knew little about PR…and being professional, for that matter.  We didn’t know how agency work differed from corporate or nonprofit work. We walked in as PR “newbies” and walked out with our first real PR contacts. (Fun fact: One of these contacts is now a past PPRA president and the other is running for mayor of Philadelphia.)

If any of us doubted whether we picked the right [PR] major, Careers 101 somehow miraculously assured us that we had in fact made the right decision to go into this fast-paced and ever-changing field of writing, creativity and grit.  We wanted to share this experience with dozens of our classmates.  Therefore, on behalf of our PRSSA chapter, I emailed PPRA Executive Director Denise Downing and, should the event ever be held again, offered to host it at Temple University.

Not only was the event brought to Temple, it remained there for three years before moving to PECO for another three years.  Then, after speaking at a Drexel PRSSA meeting, their chapter reached out to me and offered to host the event.  Needless to say, the event then went to Drexel, where it was held for two years.  Now, the 10th Annual Careers 101 will be held at The Liacouras Center at Temple University, where my career started a decade ago partially as a result of this wonderful event.

As such, I have participated in the event every year since its inception, as an attendee, PRSSA president, College Relations Committee chair, panelist, networking volunteer, resume critique volunteer and now in my capacity as president-elect. It has been an honor and pleasure to watch this event grow and flourish. Each year there is a different angle or twist.  This year, in honor of Careers 101’s 10th anniversary and PPRA’s 70th anniversary, the panelists are all past presidents of PPRA and are some of the top PR pros in Philadelphia and beyond.

PPRA’s College Relations Committee has worked hard to put together a thoughtful program that somehow adds an element to one-up years passed.  Over the years, thanks to the honest feedback of the students and young professionals, as well as input from past panelists and university/college faculty and professors who have supported the event, changes have been made to improve the event for anyone involved.  For example, in its first year, there were only a handful of professionals in attendance, which resulted in a half hour wait for students to get their turn to talk with them.  Event attendees can now expect to network with up to a few dozen professionals in attendance.

The Committee wanted to come up with something else new and special for the 10th Careers 101, so this year’s attendees can look forward to getting their professional headshots taken for their LinkedIn profiles.   Also, a number of PR professionals are raffling off their time for shadow days, networking lunches and informational interviews.  The access to high-caliber professionals is a tremendous value to students and young professionals alike.  Of course, what’s Careers 101 without a resume critique?  That must-have bonus will be available again this year.

If you are a student or young professional considering going into PR, this event is for you. Your path to internships, mentors, professional contacts and maybe even employment opportunities, it all starts here.  If you are a PR professional and you have interns and/or young employees, this is an event they will benefit from…and where you might be able to find your next interns!

Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the 2015 Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award.  This award honors a college junior or senior who has exhibited outstanding professional promise in the field of public relations, has an excellent academic track record and contributes to his or her community. Any PPRA member or internship supervisor in the Philadelphia region may submit nominations for the award. Self-nominations are welcome. The winner receives a commemorative plaque and a $250 cash prize.

To learn more about the PPRA Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award or the PPRA President’s Fast-Track Award, which honors recognizes an up-and-coming professional who has contributed greatly to the organization, the profession and the community,visit:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5891762/2015%20Awards%20Information.pdf.

See you at Careers 101 on April 1!  Remember, your career is no joke.

Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway is President-Elect of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and Director of Communications and Marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association.  Follow Meredith @MZApoetry on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/meredithavakian.

Public Relations Careers 101

One of PPRA’s most anticipated events of the year is quickly approaching, but don’t worry, there is still time to register for Public Relations Careers 101!

April 1, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.

Dave & Buster’s (325 N. Columbus Blvd.)

Open to students and young professionals in the Philadelphia region, this session is your chance to meet and hear from top PR minds working in all areas of the profession. The panelists will share insights into their careers and the realities of working in public relations, as well as tips on how to stand out in this difficult job market. After the panel discussion, you will have the chance to network with public relations professionals during our table networking session.

All pre-registered participants will be entered into our raffle for the chance to win a “networking day” with a PR pro, plus other great prizes! Remember, you must be present to win.

The deadline to register is THIS FRIDAY, March 28.

Panelists Include:

  • Gregg Feistman – Associate Professor of Public Relations, Temple University (Moderator)
  • Hope Koseff Corse – Director of Marketing & Communications, Independence Seaport Museum
  • John Miller – President, Scribewise
  • Cathryn Sanderson – Director of Communication & Corporate Relations, Back On My Feet
  • Lisa Simon – President, Simon PR
  • Meredith Wertz – Manager of Corporate Communication, Comcast