Beyond Kelley Connect – How I Landed a Job in Public Relations

“MY CAREER PATH WILL DEFINITELY EVOLVE AND CHANGE OVER TIME, BUT I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO REALLY ANALYZE YOURSELF TO SCULPT

THE CAREER THAT YOU ARE BEST SUITED FOR.”

By Genna Pirrong

WHERE WAS YOUR INTERNSHIP FOR THE SUMMER?
I worked at FleishmanHillard in the Corporate Group as a Public Relations intern, specializing in financial communications.

WHAT LED YOU TO SEARCH FOR A JOB IN THIS INDUSTRY?
I had marketing internships every summer of college in the financial services space, and loved the industry. However, I wanted something more fast-paced than marketing. I worked a lot with a PR agency at my internship before my senior year and loved those projects the best. I then made two lists: one of the projects I loved most and the ones I liked least, and the other pinpointing my strengths and weaknesses. After writing that list and analyzing it, I realized I was best suited for a career in public relations and investor relations.

HOW DID YOU FIND THE INTERNSHIP?
The job search was difficult. Public Relations is a really difficult area to start out in. I researched a lot of companies and started applying on websites. I tried to find connections, and luckily new someone who knew someone in HR for FleishmanHillard. That warranted the best results – I got a call from a recruiter who got my resume in the door. Luckily, someone who glanced at my resume knew my old supervisor from a past internship and liked my experiences. I interviewed in the Chicago office and got an offer shortly thereafter.

DID YOU NETWORK WITH OTHER COMPANIES IN THE AREA?
I networked and interviewed with a small PR company in Brooklyn called the Neibart Group that I found through LinkedIn. It was a great fit and a really awesome company, but I chose to go to Chicago instead to work at a more well-known company.

DO YOU HAVE ANY HELPFUL HINTS TO SHARE WITH OTHER STUDENTS?

  • Try to find as many connections as possible – reach out to people on LinkedIn. That was a great resource for me.
  • Taking a hard look at my strengths and interests was so useful for me. I was very introspective and thought hard about the career I wanted to build for myself.
  • Try to get as many internship experiences as possible – this is where you build your network and figure out what you want to do.
  • Don’t make the same mistake that I did and start applying to places first semester… It’s a huge waste of time. If you want to work in PR or at an agency, they will not start recruiting till later on. I did get good interview experience, but I interviewed for companies I had no intention of working for. I caused myself so much unnecessary stress that I could’ve spent enjoying my senior year.
  • I did NOT want to have an internship after college. I was embarrassed and wanted the stability of a full-time job. Yes, it can be stressful, but that is the nature of the industry and I’m so glad I chose it over a full-time job. And now that I’m working, I understand why it’s important to start out as an intern. Do not rule out internships if you want to work in PR. I’ve already learned so much, and if you work hard, you will get hired eventually.
  • During interviews, really think about whether you will fit in with the people and the culture.
  • Do not take the Kelley degree for granted. Kelley is an amazing school and I would not have gotten to where I am now without the Kelley degree and hard work.
  • Don’t give up hope and work hard!! It will work out and you’ll find the best fit for you.
By Trisha Doyle
Trisha Doyle Career Coach and Student Help Desk Manager Trisha Doyle