Tips for Preparing for a Future in Advertising/PR While Still in College

No Internship_ No worries. (4).pngJessica Mancuso, Account Associate

College is time where we are able to make use of our passions by applying them to a future career. I am writing to share my experience. I am passionate about a lot of things, and was undecided for at least two years, trying to figure out what really interested me and challenged me. After some time, I came to the conclusion that my calling was “Advertising.” As a senior, I have been able to gain experience as I search for jobs that allow me to wake up every morning loving what I do. If you’re like me and need some help preparing for your future in the advertising industry, I encourage you to read further to hopefully get ahead!

Tip #1: Get involved on campus

I know that everyone says this, but Penn State has a lot of opportunities to prepare you for the future. For example, Happy Valley Communications is a great point to add on a resume because it is a one-of-a-kind experience that you’re likely not able to get anywhere else. As a member of HVC, I’ve been able to learn a lot about being an Account Associate. I have spent time creating promotional posts with real-life clients. There are a multitude of other clubs, like the AD/PR Club, the American Advertising Federation, Public Relations Student Society of America, and more that can help you see if this field is the right one for you. What’s great is that you’re also able to make connections with members who could help connect you to the right people when you are looking for a job. Furthermore, there are various clubs that need people with a passion for Advertising/PR to get involved. I am on a PR Committee for Penn State THON, and my job is to spread THON’s mission campus-wide and nation-wide. Our field is super important, and being able to apply my passion with my interests is truly a gift. I know that every club needs someone to promote them, so don’t be afraid to reach out and see if you can help out in any way.

Tip #2: Internships, internships, internships.

The best way to get experience is to apply yourself in the field. Internships have not only taught me so many skills that I will be able to use throughout my career, but they have also taught me what type of work environment I would like to be a part of and what really excites me. I wish someone had encouraged me to apply for an internship earlier in my college career because you can never get enough knowledge from actual firms in the real world. Even if the internship is unpaid, it is worth it for the opportunity to experience the job.

Tip #3: LinkedIn is your friend

LinkedIn is one of the most important social media platforms today. LinkedIn has allowed me to connect with a wide span of people who are high up in their role at companies that I am interested in. It never hurts to send them a quick message asking them for tips or if there are any positions available that they could keep you informed of. I cannot tell you how many connections I now have from people who are willing to look over my resume and help me excel when it comes to job searching. Connection is a big part of this industry, and LinkedIn has made it so much simpler! There are always workshops throughout the semester, so if you’re ready to make yourself look professional and build your “brand” — yourself — then I strongly encourage you attend one of these workshops.

Tip #4: Utilize your social media abilities

In the world we live in now, social media plays a large role in how we communicate with one another. I think that getting ahead of the game and getting familiar with different platforms will help you in the long run. In interviews, I have been asked a number of times if I have ever used a certain social media platform. Sometimes, job requirements want you to be familiar with certain platforms. Take time out of your busy schedule to play around with InDesign, to scroll through Instagram and practice scheduling on HootSuite so when your employer asks you if you’ve ever used one of these platforms to promote a message, you can honestly say you have.

Tip #5: The Career Placement Office is a Safe Place

I could not tell you where I would be without this office. I love bragging about how helpful the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communication’s Career Placement Office is when it comes to being a resource for all of its students. Without Bob Martin’s daily e-mails of new jobs looking for Penn State students ending up in my inbox, I would never have known of all of these opportunities. Their door is always open if you ever have a question for them about future careers and with resume help. They are so experienced and understand the advertising job-searching process very well, so do not hesitate to seek their guidance! All of the Penn State alumni that I have connected with on LinkedIn always give me the same tip: Talk to someone in the Career Placement Office to help you pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for. I, along with many others, could not thank them enough for their help and what they do. We are super fortunate!

Overall, you’re going to find your place in the advertising industry. I hope that my tips make you feel less anxious if you felt lost and needed some advice. Get ahead of the game and start selling yourself! There is so much opportunity around you here at Penn State, so I could not stress to you enough how important it is to apply yourself now, and find your niche. You never know where you’ll end up because of it.

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