As a public relations student I am continually being told to be like a sponge – retaining everything and soaking up every piece of knowledge I can. Initially, I felt this was only directed toward my PR skills. But as I walked into the third PRSA-Pittsburgh Professional Development Day of my college career, I had noticed that my viewpoint has shifted.
Over my past two years as a WUPRSSA Chapter member and public relations student, I have learned that retaining all information is the most beneficial way to jumpstart a career. As aspiring public relations practitioners, we not only need to keep our typical PR skills sharp, but also our practical, everyday skills.
“Always think about how you can be a resource,” said Brittany Thomas, coordinator of external affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Cooperation.
As I reflected on my time at Professional Development Day, themed “Collaborate,” I realized that this is significantly true. As aspiring PR professionals, we not only need to be able to write press releases, compose social media posts and create design pieces in a drop of a hat – we also need to be able to communicate efficiently, provide creative ideas, stay organized, lead teams and efficiently manage dozens of tasks at one time. We as future PR professionals need to “collaborate” our traditional and non-traditional skills.
These “soft skills,” as employers call them, can be a determining factor in if you get the job you applied for. Employers are saying that these “soft skills” are a dying fad that they prefer to see young professionals have – it gives them an idea of the employee outside of just their practiced skills.
Through PRSA-Pittsburgh’s Professional Development Day, I am confident that our Chapter members did expand their “soft skills.” Through networking and sessions, our Chapter members not only expanded their PR knowledge, but also grew their communication, organization and retention abilities.
My favorite session from Professional Development Day was the Media Training Workshop conducted by senior account executive and digital director of Tigercomm Bridgette Borst. This session was interactive and not only provided attendees with practical social media and interview skills, it also provided significant tips on how to better prepare yourself for media attention, how to stay organized for this occurrence and how to communicate better overall.
My third experience at PRSA-Pittsburgh’s Professional Day provided me with a realization, more defined public relations skills, a lot of advice from some killer PR practioners and significant growth in my “soft skills.” Now that’s what I call “collaboration.”
Natalie Gloady is a current junior at Waynesburg University, where she is majoring in public relations and sports information, while minoring in Spanish. She serves as the public relations director for WUPRSSA and as an assistant firm director for Red Brick Communications. You can typically find her looking at social media, getting coffee or on the softball field. She hopes to pursue a job in the sports industry post graduation.