Landis Communications‘ Advice for New PR and Communications Graduates

By Landis Staff

Spring is here, which means it is graduation time for many college students. We at Landis would like to welcome our new peers in communications, journalism and public relations. To ease your transition from academia, we asked our team what advice they would give those now entering the professional public relations market.

Sean Dowdall, President – Finance and International Business Major

Sean Dowdall School Photo
An early photo of Sean Dowdall, President.

Always think big! You have your whole career and life in front of you. Even though you have decades of time to look forward to, every moment is precious. Whether you pursue a career in communications or ultimately something else, there’s no time like right now to make a positive difference in many people’s lives and even the world. Look at every moment as an opportunity for smart, thoughtful and impactful communications.

Brianne Murphy Miller, Business Development Manager – English Literature Major

Don’t pigeonhole yourself. You might have a dream job in mind, but you never know what you’ll like doing until you do it. Got a great offer for a job in an industry you didn’t even consider? Maybe consider it! Careers are long, and experience is valuable.

Andie Davis, Account Executive – Public Relations Major

Never stop learning. Thanks to the internet, many online training courses and tools allow you to gain experience and knowledge at your convenience. Find what you’re passionate about and develop skills that fit your interests. Learning new skills can help you figure out areas in which you might want to focus as you grow in your career. Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself from

Andie Davis, Account Executive in graduation cap and gown in front of University of Oregon banner.
Andie Davis, Account Executive in graduation cap and gown.

time to time and do something outside your comfort zone!

Andy Lowe, Senior Account Executive – Public Relations Major

Stay interested, and research. Finding interest in your client’s industry is beneficial for many reasons. The first is an understanding of how the media, and by extension, the public, perceive your client and their industry. Second, it helps you quantify what counts as news. For example, when Microsoft makes a software update it’s news to some outlets. If a small tech start does a significant software update, it’s not necessarily news. Third, being genuinely interested and excited about your client translates to the copy you write, from pitches and blog posts to social copy.

Liza Batallones, Director – Speech & Mass Communications Major

Don’t be deterred if you didn’t major in public relations; you can still have a successful career in PR! I didn’t major in PR and my primary career was in broadcasting before I made the switch. If you are a good writer, creative thinker and love meeting new people – a career in PR can be an extremely rewarding experience.

Robin Carr, Senior Counselor – Public Relations Major

Network like crazy. Attend various PR and marketing mixers. When interviewing for a job, investigate the company online and find out who will be interviewing you in advance. You can get information on them from LinkedIn and other sites. Lock down your Facebook profile completely! You never know. Interviewers want someone enthusiastic, professional, willing to work hard and passionate about PR and the company they are talking to.  No-nos would be to ask about time off, job “perks” and basically anything that doesn’t have to do with the job.

Polly, diploma in hand, at her graduation ceremony.
Polly Winograd Ikonen, diploma in hand, at her graduation ceremony.

Polly Winograd Ikonen, Senior Counselor – English Major

Read. It’s your job to know what is in the news. And I don’t just mean what’s trending on Twitter today, although that can be useful, too. Read whole news stories every day. Think about what got into the story and what was left out. As the PR pro, you should strive to be the expert your clients and in-house colleagues rely on, knowing who in the media is writing about what and how your news can fit in. Share stories you think they should be aware of in their sector, even if you’re not a part of the stories. It’s a great way to make yourself valuable to the team. Conversely, the media will always respond more positively to a PR pro who already knows what interests them and fits into their beat.

Additional Resources

Building and Maintaining Virtual Client Relationships, Landis Communications

Public Relations Can and Does Change the World, PRGN