“Back to work on Monday. Don’t know where the summer went. But looking forward to an amazing new school year with 80 new future PR professionals.” – Barry Waite
GAWD, that’s a lot of new students coming into the corporate communications and public relations program at Centennial College this September! It will be one year since I enrolled in CCPR and it was the best decision I made in my life so far. I made new friends, went to a lot parties, made connections in the industry and learned the best way possible, HANDS ON! Since I’m now an alumni of Centennial’s awesome program, like a big brother, I want to give you new CCPRers some tips (maybe tricks?) on your post-grad experience to make it awesome!
1. Make friends with your fellow CCPRers: During the first few weeks you’ll be introducing yourself to your fellow colleagues. You’ll get to hear where everyone came from, their experience, their passion, and where they want to end up. Make sure you talk to everyone, even people in the other block! Not only are they your fellow students but they’re your first PR contacts. Sure you’ll be closer to a few people than others but never break relationships. Plan lunch outings, a happy hour after class, or even a secret santa at school. The friends you make at CCPR will be ones you have for the rest of your brand new career! Enjoy yourself and remember everyone is in the same boat.
2. Everyone is in the Same Boat: You’re in post-grad for a reason, you want to start your career. That goes the same for all your peers in the program. Try helping out your peers if they are stuck on an assignment or if they need help on Photoshop and InDesign. I had someone in the program who was charging people for a copy of the Adobe CS program and I didn’t think that was nice. So the next day I downloaded the whole program and gave it to everyone for free. If you have any knowledge in the PR or social media world share them with your friends. For example, during the internship search, if you see an agency that one of your friends would like then let them know. In the end everyone will have an internship so don’t worry.
3. Teachers = Mentors: Post-grad is nothing like your first year at University. Everyone is mature and the teachers are really there to help you get your career started. Teachers like Barry, Donna, Clowater, #Paolo and Vivienne are just some of the mentors who will guide you through the program. Feel free to talk with any of them about your PR goals or struggles with CCPR. The assignments and projects that you get won’t be useless because you’ll able to put the best ones in your PR portfolio. Remember, nobody knows the PR world more then your teachers.
4. Social Media is Your Voice: Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging are going to play a big role in your path to becoming a PR pro. If you haven’t already, start a Twitter account right now! If your Twitter is locked, that’s a bad move. Follow all the PR agencies and PR pros around Toronto. If you find an agency that you really like engage with them to get noticed. When you tweet think how you want to be presented in the PR world. So tweet out PR news, social media trends, and fashion/entertainment (if you want to work in that industry). You will be using Twitter a lot during your time at CCPR. Like Twitter, blogging is very important in PR. Writing blog posts can help you develop and practise your writing skills. Blogging will also help you write short and sweet and keep your creative mind going. [Tip: you will be writing blog posts as assignments so start your blog now!]. Honestly, I could talk more about blogging and social media but I’m not going to drag this on….just click here.
5. Dress To Impress: Now I’m not saying to wear a suit and tie but please don’t wear sweatpants to school or really crazy revealing clothes. Your teachers and peers will notice your attitude, habits and the way you dress. You will get told that image is everything and you can make a great impression by the way you present yourself. Keep in mind that people at PR agencies are very fashionable so remember to dress for the career you want. [Tip: take a really professional photo for your LinkedIn/Twitter profile]. Check out the blog post, Dress For The Career You Want! for men and women fashion tips on how to look your best.
The first four months will be a little crazy with a lot of assignments overlapping each other but don’t worry you’ll do great! Barry will send you a lot of volunteer opportunities and I highly suggest you go to as many as possible. If you are looking to join CPRS or/and IABC do it because you will get a student discount, but it’s not necessary. CCPR was a lot of fun because of the awesome people I met in the program so don’t be shy and connect. I still hang out with people from CCPR and it’s always a blast!
Good luck CCPR Fall Semester 2013!