Thursday, May 30, 2019

Talking PR with the Next Generation

Recently, I participated in a career day at a middle school in the west suburbs, during which groups of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students rotated classrooms to hear from a wide variety of professionals. There were firefighters, police officers, a judo instructor, an accountant, hair stylists and more — and of course, me: the public relations guy.

While college and career are far around the bend for this age group, it’s never too early for them to think about what they want to do. I was thrilled to represent our industry and share my insights with dozens of students across four sessions.

Through some personal “day in the life” and relatable, real-world examples, I did my best to help open their eyes to what PR is and what a PR professional does. I also shared my timeline from middle school through today to demonstrate potential education and career paths they could follow to enter the industry and sustain success.

To no surprise, I found the students to be very social media-savvy and up-to-date on trends and how we consume media. Growing up exposed to influencers, digital media and experiential programs, they were able to discuss numeral instances of PR in-action, such as celebrity partnerships on Instagram, online coverage of their favorite products and hashtag campaigns. Fortunately, they also understood examples involving print media!

I continue to be invigorated working in PR, and after my experiences at career day, I can safely say that the future of our industry — one where we need to be at the forefront of a rapidly changing landscape — is in good hands (even if we’re communicating via hologram by then).

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