By Hannah Riffle, Communication Management Intern
Would you get into the car with someone who learned to drive only by reading a book? A strong foundation of knowledge does not fully prepare you to sit behind the wheel and hit the interstate. As we heard growing up, “Practice makes perfect.”
Just like driving, learning communication strategies from a book is only the first step in becoming a practitioner. I study public relations at Ball State University, and diverse classes in writing, design, media ethics and campaign management have given me an understanding of important theories. With some basic knowledge, I jumped into my first internship, at a digital marketing agency, where I was immersed in the day-to-day of agency life. Three internships and dozens of classes later, I am creating content and implementing social media strategy for real-world clients.
In my first month at Hirons, I applied some of what I learned in a case study course to compile award submissions for some of the agency’s innovative client work. I used lessons from a media research course to analyze best practices in specific segments of the industry and share insights that would guide future strategy. I utilized findings from a media analytics course to create engaging social media content and evaluate its performance.
My experiences were key to developing my skills and building confidence in myself as a practitioner. I know I have chosen the career path that best aligns with my interests.
Are you studying for a future career in the communications industry? Here are a few ways to apply your classroom knowledge:
Join relevant student organizations at your university. Does your university have a Public Relations Student Society of America or American Advertising Federation chapter? These organizations allow you to make an impact at a local level and engage with thousands of peers across the nation. Plus, when employers look to recruit, these affiliations make you stand out!
Volunteer your time with a nonprofit. No matter where you are in your educational journey, it is never too early to test your skills. Don’t let feelings of inexperience hold you back from growing. The only way to gain experience is through practice. Do you see a nonprofit that could benefit from some strategic social media initiatives? Or is there one that has a story waiting to be told to the media? Sometimes the best experiences come from opportunistic outreach.
Apply for a summer internship at Hirons. Interested in learning more about communications management, digital media or creative services? Check out our available internship opportunities and apply by March 15.