How to Become a “Real Deal” PR Professional

By Brian Iatarola

Are you a public relations major or looking to pursue a career in PR? Don’t you hate when you’re applying for internships or a job and they require one to two years of experience? As a college student it’s hard to get those years of experience if you don’t have a foot in the door. By joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) you can build your work experience, expand your network, and give you an opportunity to earn an internship, which will help launch your PR career.

 PRSSA was founded in 1967 to help students, such as yourself, get real work experience and learn the ins and outs of what it takes to be a “real deal” PR professional. With over 10,000 student members and 300 plus universities not only in the U.S. but also in Argentina, Colombia, and Peru. PRSSA is a global network of passionate and motivated young aspiring PR professionals. This isn’t just a club for a major, PRSSA is sponsored by a local PRSA, which is the top national professional organization of public relations practitioners. Many members join PRSA once they graduate and move into their careers.

Many nationally affiliated chapters student-run firms which work with real clients on different campaigns and projects. Although the Shippensburg University chapter doesn’t have a student-run firm it works with different on-campus clubs and organizations like what a student-run firm would do. These student-run firms work hard and have similar atmospheres to those of a real agency and have received different awards for their work.

Above is a picture of the ball room in which keynote speaker and legendary journalist Bob Woodward from the Washington Post spoke to PRSA and PRSSA at the National Conference in San Diego this past October.

Not only can you gain real work experience, you also have a wide-reaching networking community not only within the U.S. as well as internationally. By going to different events and PRSSA conferences throughout the year, you can network and meet other aspiring PR students and professionals. This is highly important and gives you the opportunity to put your name out there and meet new people who will be in your field.

Having a strong network can open doors for you that you didn’t think were possible, such as a job or internship. You don’t have to go to different conferences to network when you join PRSSA because there are many professionals who were once in your chapter. An example of this is Sabina Disney, PRSSA VP at Shippensburg University, who gained an internship from networking with past PRSSA chapter President, Keri Oram. By continuing to build your network and going to different events, it can help your future career in ways you never thought it could.


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