At Hofstra PRSSA’s common hour meeting, members had the opportunity to hear from David Chauvin, Director of Public Relations at Zimmerman Edelson, Inc. David, a graduate of Hofstra himself, specializes in government PR and shared a wealth of knowledge and some great anecdotes with the students.
For several attendees, this was the first they had ever heard about the government sector of public relations, and although many may never have a hand in creating a political campaign (or even, unfortunately, set foot in a polling place) David’s advice was relevant and interesting for anyone looking to pursue a career in the public relations industry.
Tip #1: It is still essential to read print
This does not mean you should immediately delete your Twitter and deactivate your Facebook account (more on that in Tip #2). On the other hand, you must balance your consumption of digital and traditional media. David urged students to pick up a newspaper whenever they could get their hands on one. He explained that print publications set the agenda for the day, so it is crucial that you read, understand, and have an opinion on what these outlets are reporting on.
Tip #2: You are expected to know social media
Thirty years ago, knowing how to type may have been a precious skill but today it is an ordinary prerequisite for most jobs. Similarly, being a Gen-Yer who is proficient in all things social media is no longer impressive but rather, expected by job recruiters. David informed us that employers expect students to be active on these platforms and to understand how they work.
Tip #3: Keep showing up, keeping asking for responsibility
This tip is especially pertinent for those of you who are currently interning, or who plan on interning ever (so all of you). I am a firm believer that when it comes to an internship experience: you get out what you put in. In David’s example, he was a volunteer who was not initially given much responsibility. Once he began showing up on a regular basis, and continued to do so, he was given much more challenging and rewarding tasks. As an intern, always ask for additional projects, and be specific. If you want more experience writing press releases, just ask! Your superiors will notice your eagerness and you will receive greater responsibility and a much more worthwhile learning experience.
Tip #4: The public wants information to find them
This piece of advice is applicable for students pursuing a career in any sector of the industry. It is important to know your audience, and to reach them in places that they frequent. They no longer want to have to search for information; they want it to find them. This is where social media can play a huge role. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking and micro blogging sites allow companies to reach consumers and talk with them, rather than at them. Don’t just spew out information and promote your brand (or yourself), join the conversation and become a reliable and trusted source of information.