Students in the MacEwan University public relations program are on campus for a short time. We have to take advantage of the opportunities available to us in that time. After eight months we’re off to our practicums and then, hopefully, the workforce.
Here are three ways to make the most of your time as a student at MacEwan.
1. Join a Professional Association
Joining a professional association gives you access to professional development, conferences and a network of fellow practitioners from whom you can learn, find jobs and share war stories.
Membership also shows that you’re serious about the profession and will provide credibility while job hunting.
Both the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) have student membership rates. They also offer a discounted rate for your first year after graduation—which is only available if you were a student member.
You can find more about CPRS and IABC student rates by visiting their websites:
2. Take Advantage of Mentorship Opportunities
One of your first assignments in the program is to interview a PR practitioner with at least five years of experience. Use this interview as an opportunity to learn from someone with experience in the industry.
Develop an on-going relationship with your interview subject. Many PR practitioners in Edmonton are happy to talk to students, so keep in touch with them after the interview.
If you’re looking something more formal, CPRS Edmonton has a mentorship program.
3. Connect with your Fellow Students
You have the same students in all of your classes, so get to know each of them.
- Go for drinks after class
- Grab coffee together
- Talk to each other in the hall before class
You’ll make new friends and you’ll develop a professional network of 20 – 30 peers. These are your future coworkers, employers and employees. Get to know them and stay in touch after graduation.
We’re only on campus for a short time. Take advantage of the opportunities to learn, network and gain experience outside of the classroom. You’ll get a head start in your career and may even make some new friends.
NOTE: This post was originally published on September 25, 2013 for my PR & Digital Media course (on a closed, course-only website).