The University of Southern Mississippi published a press release this week praising a student for landing an internship at Weber Shandwick. As the second largest PR firm in the world, Weber Shandwick provides graduate student D’Anthony Jackson, with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Though the college fully credits D’Anthony for seeking out the opportunity, it also builds the school’s image as a college attended by successful students with access to amazing opportunities. It also helps associate the school’s mass communications and journalism department with a prestigious PR firm.
This press release shows how powerful PR has become today – not just as a discipline and a field of study – but as a day-to-day practice of successful brands. The press release on Southern Miss has since made its way to other outlets like 7WDAM.
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Benefits to the Student
This positive PR helped the school, Weber Shandwick, and the student. The highlights of his accomplishments in high school all the way into graduate school showcase his talents, abilities, and dedication to getting results.
It also shows his strong will and dedication to public relations. This will serve him well going forward when he looks for jobs in PR, allowing him a head start in building his professional portfolio.
The Importance of Experience
Jackson’s push to land the internship at Weber Shandwick emphasizes that though an academic background is great, it is not enough in public relations. True success in the public relations field comes from learning through hands-on experience. So, even though Jackson did exceptionally well in school, he understood he needed much more than book-learning to get ahead in the field.
Academic learning provides theories about how to approach issues, and shape an idea for the public, but nothing beats actual experience. This is because, for each brand, the factors which contribute to its success are different. These include the founders, the people who work there, its position in the industry, current limitations, and how it has branded itself so far.
With these factors differing from brand to brand, a specialist learns through experience how to reshape strategies to take each new variable into account.
The Importance of Networking
But how does one continually build experience in public relations? Finding and landing clients isn’t always easy. One of the strategies Jackson thanks most for his growing success is networking. He advises students to “Stay focused and be present. Don’t take anyone you meet for granted, and cherish all your relationships. Be the first one there and be the last to leave. Until you build your network, you have to have that mindset.”
He also advises students to attend networking events early and leave late to ensure they take advantage of opportunities to make great connections. This is an important lesson to carry into public relations, and one that has served every successful public relations specialist well.