Emily Bower, PRSSA President at The University of Akron
This year was my first year attending the PRSA Student Day at Eaton, and I have to say I am dismayed that I waited until my senior year of college to attend this event. I learned more about how to get my first “real” PR job in an afternoon at this event than I have in an entire semester of trying to figure everything out of on my own.
When I first arrived at Eaton in the morning I had no idea what to expect. I know they were a large company, but after having my ID checked by the security officer at the gate and after walking into Eaton’s expansive, modern lobby, I kind of felt like I had stumbled into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Student Day was the first time I had ever been to such a huge corporate campus and everything just seemed so strange and intriguing, and the magic of the day really didn’t stop there.
The first panel of the morning was all about how to manage brands. What I really liked about this panel was that the three panelists were all so diverse in what they did. One panelist worked for the Cleveland Foundation, another worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the other worked in commercial properties. This broad array of perspectives from the field was nice to hear, especially for someone like me who is still not sure what kind of PR she wants to do. Each of the panelists talked about current trends in brand management which I found to be really helpful information that I can utilize in some of the work I do at my internship.
The second panel, in my opinion, was probably the most pertinent, because it was all about what recruiters look for in candidates when they’re hiring people for PR jobs. The moderator asked a lot of really helpful questions like what the best way is to respond when someone asks where you see yourself in five years. The panelists also touched on some things related to soft skills such as salary negotiation and the etiquette of when/how to accept or reject job offers. As a student who is graduating this spring, I found this to be invaluable advice because as I have begun my own job searching I have realized I know very little about these types of soft skills.
I also found the resume review to be incredibly useful. I’ve had professors in Akron’s school of communication give me feedback on my resume which is always useful, but it was great to gain another perspective as to what should or shouldn’t be on my resume. Plus, I was given some really excellent insight into how I can improve the layout of my resume.
As a college senior who is graduating this year, I’m so happy that I took the time to attend this event. I gained so much invaluable insight into the soft skills side of the job searching process, and I feel so much more confident about my resume after having made some of the changes that were suggested to me. All in all, I found this to be an invaluable experience and I only wish that I had gone to Student Day at Eaton sooner.