By Lauren | September 4, 2014 | 0 Comment
I graduated from Sheridan College’s Corporate Communication program in 2012, after completing my internship at Peel District School Board. I wouldn’t say I took full advantage of my final year at college, and I wish I had someone to offer me some of the advice I’ve given you below. This year will fly by, so make your last year of school worth it by following some of these 10 tips.
Learn to write on all sorts of subjects
From sulfur in Lake Simcoe to non-profit events, you name it, you’ll have to write about it. Take this time to learn how to write on all sorts of subjects. If you always opt out to write about topics that interest you and that you are knowledgeable in, you’ll never learn how to adapt to different topics that may be thrown your way.
Volunteer, attend conferences, become a member of societies, or get a part-time job/internship. Take advantage of your spare time to get involved in the industry. This is a great way to network plus build your resume and portfolio. Another suggestion is to do 2 internships. Do one during the school year part-time and one full-time in the spring which the majority of your class will do. This adds double the experience to your resume.
Build your online presence
When I was a Corporate Communications student I took that time to build a professional Twitter account apart from my regular account that I tweet at celebrities, and share silly things. It’s been 2 years and I’ve built that account to over 1,000 followers, and had the opportunity to connect with so many people in the industry that I probably wouldn’t normally get the chance too.
Don’t just think about Twitter, but start a blog to show off your writing, or build a website to have an online portfolio to make it easy for you to send when applying for jobs!
Think like a college student
Many of you are probably coming from a university background. University is very different than college and you need to learn to think like a college student now that you have transitioned over. Literally when a teacher gives you an outline of a project, deliver exactly what they are asking for and you’ll be golden. If the outline isn’t that specific, that usually means that there’s room to be creative and think outside the box. Learn from other college grads in your class, and realize that how you worked and studied in university will probably be much different now that you’re in college, and in a hands-on environment.
Find clients early
You will be asked to work with real clients for many of your projects. Try to get the details on each project, and reach out to potential clients as early as possible. Even before you fully get started on a project. The profs will gladly let you know about details beforehand so you can get started on this early. For some people this was a tough task, for others it was easy but it’s great to not be rushed, and find a client that you are satisfied with.
Don’t spend years on writing assignments
The truth is, you’re not going to have 2 weeks to write a news release in the real world. So when you’re given a project to do just that, don’t spend every waking hour on it. Use this time to practice the fast-paced environment, and the short turn around times you’ll experience in the PR world. For some projects it will be okay to procrastinate.
Don’t depend on the pre-arranged class interviews for your internship
Don’t stress if the teacher puts up the sign-up lists for the companies coming to interview students, and there isn’t your dream company and internship listed. Do your own research and find companies that you’d be interested in working for beforehand. The earlier you start the better, this is one opportunity in your early career where it’s okay to be picky.
Wait to buy textbooks or return them if you already have
The only useful textbooks you’ll need to buy throughout the year is the Canadian Press Styleguide. You will use this a lot in school, and beyond. The hard copy is a lot easier to use then the online copy and makes it more convenient when you need to quickly look up something. These will probably end up earning a space in your cubicle once you start a career.
Read the news
Yes you will be expected to know what’s going on in current events. Read the morning news or scroll through some news Twitter feeds to make sure you stay on top of everything that’s happening around you. You never know when there will be a pop quiz or discussion in class about it.
Find a mentor
As a Corporate Communications student you’ll become a member of the CPRS. You can sign up for their mentorship program, or reach out to professionals online and at networking events to see if anyone would be interested in being your mentor for the next year. A mentor can help answer questions you may have, prepare you for the working world + more. Not sure where to start with your mentor relationship? Check out some of these resources from the place I currently work to help guide you (no I’m not trying to advertise here, these are actually useful for anyone).
Your year in Corporate Communications is going to fly by, and before you know it you’ll be off to start your career. Take advantage of this last year to take up every opportunity to make you a 110% career ready.
Do you have additional advice that’s not listed above? Leave a comment below!