By Lauren Fischer
Charnay Pickett (Account Manager at Hirons) Indy
Sydney Heile (Assistant Account Executive at BCW Global) Chicago
Marah (Harbison) Yankey (Senior News and Media Specialist at IU)
Five takeaways from IU PRSSA’s Young Professionals Panel
On Monday, our chapter hosted the annual Young Professionals Panel, which brought three IU PRSSA alumni back to Bloomington to discuss their careers and reflect on their time at The Media School.
The panel focused on being a young professional within the public relations field, and the lessons current graduates learned from their first few years on the job.
Panelists included Charnay Pickett, an Account Manager at the Indianapolis PR agency Hirons, Marah (Harbison) Yankey, a Senior News and Media Specialist for IU and Syndey Heile, Assistant Account Executive at BCW Global, a communications agency located in Chicago.
Sophomore PRSSA member Lauren Fischer attended the panel. Here are her five key takeaways.
1. Read the news.
With a constant 24-hour news cycle, keeping up with current events can seem exhausting, but Yankey said it is crucial for PR professionals. Consuming news not only lets you know what is going on in the world, but helps you become more familiar with journalism and understanding what is considered newsworthy.
2. Don’t get discouraged when it comes time to apply for jobs!
There’s always a great deal of uncertainty with where we are all going to end up after graduation. This panel reminded me and our members that a job in public relations is possible right out of college. The exhausting job search that plagues many seniors has a positive ending, and your hard work will pay off.
3. Do the small things well.
In many entry-level jobs, young professionals could feel that the work they are doing is going unnoticed. However, Heile encouraged students to not feel frustrated and instead focus on performing seemingly small tasks successfully. These “small jobs” eventually add up, and ultimately make you better at your profession.
4. Networking is key.
We’ve heard it from career coaches, professors and maybe even our own parents, but it remains true: networking is key to your success after college. Finding and keeping those positive relationships can be extremely helpful down the road. In addition to keeping positive connections, Pickett suggested never burning bridges, because you never know where a connection may lead.
5. Write, write and write!
There are countless skills and strengths anyone needs to be successful in the PR industry. Writing, however, seems to take precedence over all of these skills, and is the main determining factor of your success in this field. Yankey emphasized the importance of mastering writing basics with Media School classes such as Wordsmithing, which she took her senior year.