By Kate Templeton
Have you ever wanted to see what it would be like to work in an actual public relations department or agency? We are very fortunate as University of Oregon SOJC PR students because there are a variety of opportunities to visit real agencies in different cities. Recently, I was able to tour agencies in Portland through UO PRSSA and in San Francisco with Allen Hall PR. Below are a few tips to make the most of your tour!
Do your research and come prepared
Research the company beforehand to better familiarize yourself with its goals and mission. In addition, make sure to have a few questions prepared in advance. This will greatly help you during the question and answer time. Asking well thought-out questions on these tours can help you stand out amongst the crowd, and it is a super helpful way to get all your inquiries answered.
Write down notes
You’re going to want to take lots of notes during the tours. The agencies will share extremely useful information that’s important for you to retain. Make sure to bring paper and a pen with you so you are able to write down these crucial notes. Part of the tour will likely be spent in a conference room listening and asking questions with the professionals who work there. This is the best time to ask questions about post-grad life, the hiring process, how the company works, ways to prepare for this career and other questions you may have. Writing down the valuable insights that they share will be beneficial when looking back at notes after the tours are over.
Network, network, network!
Going on agency tours are important, but actually interacting with the professionals you meet on the tours is a MUST. This is your opportunity to network. Bring your resume and business cards with you in case an appropriate opportunity comes up to give them to someone you connect with.
Stay connected through LinkedIn
While on the tours you will visit multiple agencies, meet interesting professionals and learn about careers in PR. After you get back home, make sure you connect with the people you met. A great way to do this would be to add people on LinkedIn. This is essential because it will build your own professional network. However, don’t just stop with a simple LinkedIn connection. Expand your network by actually communicating. Don’t be afraid to shoot them a quick message thanking them for their time and willingness to share their expertise. Maybe even take it a step farther and ask for an informational interview. This will show not only your interest but will also help you make lasting connections that could help you in your future.
Our chapter will be traveling to Seattle March 1-2 on our Winter Professional Development Tour. Applications are open until Feb. 12. Visit prssa.uoregon.edu/tours for more information.