Archive for August, 2012

Andrea Kenski, 2011 & 1999 EMU graduate shares her experience with student organizations and her second time around at college. She has found herself right where she wants to be, and has great advice!

When I was in college the first time around, I went to my classes, studied and took exams. I never paid attention to the copious amounts of fliers pinned to the bulletin boards advertising the different student organizations. It’s not that I didn’t have time to go to meetings or afford the yearly dues. I didn’t see the value of being part of a student organization. Flash forward 11 years later to college 2.0. I decided to go back to school and study public relations. I was a little older and a little wiser.

I went to classes, studied, took exams and became involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). This set the stage for life after graduation. I met people working in an industry that I wanted to work in. I became a student member of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I was able to network with like-minded professionals. The best part was having access to job opportunities that weren’t posted on Monster.com.

 All of this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t seen that PRSSA flier in the student center. You’re probably thinking that if you weren’t involved in a student organization, that it’s too late to join a professional organization. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Do a Google search on professional organizations and the results will amaze you. There are many organizations for different industries, fields and careers. Find which one suits you and the benefits are endless.

The first thing that comes to mind is the networking with the right people. Keep this phrase in mind, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And it’s true. Knowing the right person can be the difference between getting an interview and waiting around for the HR manager to call you. Once you get the interview, it’s up to you, your education and skills that will land you that dream job. Being part of a professional organization can help you with continued education in your field. Often, professional organizations hold workshops or seminars for their members to assist them in their career. Take advantage of these! There are many industries that need keep up with technology or emerging trends. Be the employee who’s knowledgeable about what’s going on. You may get that promotion or salary increase because of your continued education.

 If you are a recent college grad and a new professional, having a mentorship opportunity is the best part of a professional organization. Speaking to an experienced mentor who’s working in your desired field is priceless. They can walk you through tough situations, give invaluable advice and help you as you make your way up the ladder. They’ve been in your shoes and know what it takes to make it. I found tremendous value in a professional organization. I landed my dream job at my dream company all because of my involvement with PRSSA and IABC. Do you belong to a professional organization? What benefits of the organization have you found useful in life after college? Drop me a line and let me know at akenski@earthlink.net.

 Andrea Kenski is on the Board of Directors at IABC. She received a Bachelor’s of Art in communications (’99) and a Bachelor’s of Science in public relations (’11) from Eastern Michigan University. She currently is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. Follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl.

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