Hey y’all, I’m Nicole McClellan, the newest addition to Porter Novelli Radar. Just what in the world is that, you ask? Porter Novelli Radar is a round-the-clock monitoring service providing clients with real-time analysis of the issues most important to them. I’m happy to be a part of this ultra-savvy team.
I’m from Tifton, Ga., and moved to Atlanta to accept this incredible internship. I graduated from the University of Georgia in spring of 2012 and received a degree in public relations with minors in sociology and speech communications. Having completed nine PR internships as a full-time undergraduate student, I was excited to move into this position where I could zero-in on one agency.
I always knew that I wanted to be in the field of public relations, even though, coming in as a freshman at UGA, I didn’t know that was what it was called. I wanted a career that would allow me to write, research, network and use my people skills, but I didn’t know what options were available. It didn’t take me long after talking with my professors to discover that this profession had a name—public relations. After I discovered the field, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
My previous internships helped me narrow down what type of PR I liked. There are so many options within the field. I had internships in sports, fashion, healthcare and consumer PR in addition to working with a newspaper, a chamber of commerce and a university.
My advice to upcoming seniors and those who are graduating soon is to take on as many internships as you can and network. Go to every open house, career fair and shadow day possible. Also, find a mentor who can give you advice. Mentors can be invaluable resources as you navigate this uncertain job market.
Leveraging your personal network is one of the best ways to discover internship and job opportunities. Networking goes a long way toward getting your foot in the door with a hiring manager.
I secured my first job interview because of a connection with my best friend’s dad. During college I was looking for an internship that would provide a great learning experience and also help pay the bills. Honestly, the pickings were slim, until a friend of mine introduced me to a hiring manager looking for a spring intern. And thanks to one of my college professors, I was introduced to Porter Novelli Atlanta’s internship program when she took interested PR students on a class trip to the city (a former student of hers in Atlanta arranged for us to meet with the staff at PN).
While sending out your resume to people you don’t know is commonplace for job hunters, leveraging your network can yield a much higher rate of return than ‘cold calling’. Start by asking those near to you – family, friends and teachers. Also, use social networking sites, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, to establish connections with people at the company where you want to work. That’s what the “Get introduced through a connection” option is for after all.
All this, while also building and maintaining a strong personal brand, will make attaining the interview and hopefully the job easier. One of the greatest lessons I have learned came from my first manager who taught me to never burn a bridge unless absolutely necessary (which is almost never is). That goes for other students, teachers, and people at work. It is shocking how small the world of public relations is…you never know where your connections may turn up in the future. Your best bet is to stay professional, rather than forfeit a recommendation for losing your cool. Keeping a strong personal brand is an integral part of networking, and encourages others to look out for you and your future.
How many people are you away from where you want to be? You’re probably closer than you think…
—Justin Grimsley, Porter Novelli Atlanta