Join New Pros at the PRSA International Conference!

Are you attending the PRSA International Conference this November? Lucky you! Not only will you have the chance to learn from some of the leading industry professionals, but you’ll have a chance to get one-on-one time with the PRSA New Pros group, too!

We’ll be hosting some exciting sessions at the conference this year, and we’d love for you to be part of them. If you’re unable to attend the conference in person, join the New Pros conversation online with the hashtag #NPPRSA.

Lucky enough to attend? Here’s how to join us for our exciting PRSA ICON New Pros event!

  • WHAT: PRSA New Professionals Meet and Greet – Join us for some networking, an update on the section and advice from senior PR professionals.
  • WHERE: Marriott Marquis, Room L 402
  • WHEN: Sunday, November 8, 11:00am – 12:00pm
  • QUESTIONS?: Reach out to

Here are two other events that will be happening in the Atlanta area that week, too:

See you soon, New Pros!

From Superleader to Fly-on-the-Wall: Finding Time for Post-Grad ‘Extracurriculars’

Many ambitious new professionals graduate from college holding past leadership positions through on- and off-campus organizations. They’ve strived to be involved for personal and professional development. Gaining that experience is what sets them apart when finding a job.

But once you’re hired, how and what you stay involved with is a problem many new professionals struggle with. Staying involved and joining professional organizations doesn’t need to be difficult though, and can enhance your career for years to come.

Time is a huge issue holding people back from getting involved with the equivalent of “extracurriculars” after college.

Networking for New ProsNew pros regularly face long hours while trying to balance a social and healthy lifestyle (even more difficult if moving to a new city was involved). The truth is that membership will be what you make of it. Check out the organization you want to join – does it meet bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly — and in person or virtually?

In addition, evaluate how often you’ll want to volunteer: small commitments from a one-time blog post or working check-in at an event are a great way to ease your way into joining a new organization, without the potential stress of undertaking a large event.

Money is another issue that holds people back from staying involved. Many organizations require dues to cover the cost of membership and events, but there are ways to make it affordable. Depending on the organization, there are likely discounts offered for new professionals. In addition, many companies will pay for a portion of professional organization dues, knowing that it will contribute to shaping better employees.

Either way, if organization membership is important to excelling in your career (I’m looking at you, PR pros), it’s worth thinking about setting aside some money for dues as you save for other expenses.

The simple trait of timidness is also enough to slow new professionals from getting involved in groups out of school. From once knowing everyone through four-year involvement in organizations such as PRSSA, it can be daunting to even outgoing individuals to attend a new meeting or networking event.

A text from your roommate to meet for drinks or having just landed a new gig may seem like easy excuses to blow off a first meeting at the organization you looked into, but after going once you could meet a mentor, future colleague or new friend. Getting involved in a professional organization is also a great way to meet industry peers that you can bounce ideas off of and hangout with at conferences. Join a new organization with the goal of listening, before jumping to be the leader.

Wondering what organizations are best to join early in your career? I’d be amiss to not mention joining the New Professionals Section of PRSA. Staying connected to your alma mater by leading an alumni club is also a great way to network and joining a casual-level social sports league can combat work burnout. What do you do to grow your career, develop leadership skills and meet new professionals? I’d love to hear from you.

Hanna-PorterfieldHanna Porterfield is the Newsletter Co-Chair of PRSA’s New Professionals section and an Assistant Account Executive at Development Counsellors International. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 and is actively involved in the alumni club’s New York chapter. Connect with Hanna on LinkedIn and Twitter (@citygirlhanna).

Finding a Home for Career and Personal Growth in Your Local PRSA Chapter

It was a cold Tuesday night in January of 2014. We didn’t really know what to expect that night. Would people be nice? Would people want to talk? Will everyone else already know each other? Well, at least there’s free wine.

We met each other that night at the PRSA-NCC Leadership Rally – and within the next year we would become co-chairs of the newly developed New Professionals committee, and one of each other’s closest friends in this beautiful, historical, pant-suit wearing, House of Cards city.Finding a Home for Career and Personal Growth in Your Local PRSA Chapter

As melodramatic as that description might be, PRSA-NCC has provided us both a home in the District of Columbia PR community. It has offered us an avenue to improve and expand our skills and talents and a venue in which to connect with other professionals at all different stages in their careers.

Our professional skills and networks have grown exp
onentially since embarking on this journey of chairing a committee. Planning and executing monthly events, managing a committee of nearly 20 people and constantly being on the lookout for job opportunities for PRSA-NCC’s newest professionals has given us the opportunity to learn skills we might not have ever been exposed to in our day-to-day work.

In the world of PR, a good network can be just as important as a skill set. So while the PRSA-NCC New Professionals committee does host a couple of professional development events each year, most of our events are networking heavy. They enable new professionals of all ages to go through this journey together. We share ideas, challenges, lessons learned – and a lot of laughs.

For example, in 2015 we have planned six happy hours – one with free professional headshots – two professional development events, one networking baseball game and one cross-industry networking event. We could not have done this without the help of the wonderful New Pros committee members and the support of our local chapter, PRSA-NCC.

Don’t have a New Professionals committee in your local chapter? Start one! It’s a great way to get even more out of the already great experience PRSA membership has to offer. If your chapter already has one, join the committee. Get out there, network, challenge your skill set and offer your talents.

Katelynn Wiggins and Kelsey Pospisil are co-chairs of the National Capital Chapter’s New Professionals Committee. Katelynn is the public relations associate at the American Psychological Association and Kelsey is the client engagement and media relations manager at News Generation.

Four Ways Giving Back Helps You Grow as a Leader

MY VACATIONLaunching your career isn’t a one-step process. It takes time and strategic planning to really narrow down both your short- and long-term goals. But thinking about these goals isn’t enough. How are you going to get there?

As new professionals, we need to proactively think about how we’re going to land those senior-level executive positions. It’s not going to happen tomorrow but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to take initiative now.

Yes, we’re driven and have aspirations, and we really do want to be leaders. But the important part is for all of us to take steps back and ask ourselves, why? Why do we do public relations, and why do we want to be leaders of the industry? Then, we need to focus our approach on that.

For me, the answer derives in the reason I chose public relations and my biggest motivation in the work that I do: to help people. PR gives me the capability to effect change for the causes and organizations I’m passionate about, so becoming a leader means I’ll have even more knowledge, experience and power to do so.

Looking at my career with that perspective made it easier to narrow down what I could do in addition to my day job to grow professionally while simultaneously making a difference in my community. For me, that’s using my skills to help local nonprofits and community organizations.

The agency I work for, similar to agencies many new professionals work for, works with nonprofits and other community organizations on both a client and pro-bono basis. For me, this includes participating on fundraising and networking committees, directly communicating with donors or members via newsletters and social media, and so much more. By building relationships with these clients and executing campaigns, I’ve noticed firsthand how much these organizations rely on volunteers to achieve their missions, a universal truth for all nonprofits.

As a new professional, you can make a bigger difference than you may suspect for the nonprofits and organizations in your community. In addition to feeling great about doing good work, you’ll:

Expand your network.

As PR professionals, we understand the value of relationships. And while our co-workers become our work families, it’s important to build a network throughout the community beyond the office. Volunteer positions do just that.

It can be intimidating to arrive alone to your first meeting or event, but you need to start somewhere. Before you know it, you’ll no longer feel like you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and want to start volunteering for leadership positions. Also, it’s likely you’ll meet and work with people from different industries and professions, who could then turn into friends and mentors. These relationships can last a lifetime and open the door to new opportunities and shared passions.

Become the expert.

Depending on the organization or people you’re interacting with, you could be the only PR professional in the room. So when a communications-specific question or request is brought up, all eyes turn to you. This doesn’t mean you’re expected to know the answer in a blink of an eye, but you’re expected to be able to figure it out – an important skill as PR professionals are looked to as problem solvers. As an added bonus, you’ll become more comfortable and confident speaking up or learn when to let others do the same in these situations, which can help in all aspects of your career.

Build your resume.

Volunteer-based experiences are often equally as beneficial as on-the-job experiences. Most nonprofits and community organizations run on shoestring budgets, which make successful campaigns extra impressive. The ability to articulate your role in a successful project can speak volumes to your impact and leadership skills. Through volunteering you’ll also get hands-on experience with industries you may not typically be involved with, which can help round you out professionally or let you explore new interests if you’re not super passionate about the PR work you’re doing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn new approaches and skills.

You’ll notice there are similar practices utilized among different organizations, but you’ll also pick up on differences. An organization may use a strategy or tool you’ve never explored. Each new skill you learn can enhance your value and help set you apart from peers, vital steps for career growth. And as you gain new skills and ideas, you’ll be able to contribute a different perspective to the meetings you attend – positioning yourself as a leader.

It’s never too early to get involved – whether you’re a college freshman or seasoned professional – take some time to consider how you can give back and become a better leader.

What types of volunteer roles do you have in the community? What are other career benefits you’ve noticed from giving back?

Hannah Leibinger Headshot (1)Hannah Leibinger is an account strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations, a boutique agency in Lansing, Michigan, that specializes in government, nonprofit and small business public relations. In the Lansing community, she serves as the chair of communications for Grand River Connection, new professionals co-chair for the Central Michigan Chapter of PRSA, social media coordinator for Giving Tuesday Lansing and a member of the Old Town Commercial Association business development committee. Connect with her on Twitter (@hleibinger) and LinkedIn.

Three Tips for Landing Your First Job Using Facebook

Three tipsFor those of you just entering the work force after graduating from college – first and foremost – congrats on graduating! It’s an exciting time to begin a new chapter and take new leaps of faith. It can also be daunting at times, with the vast number of options available to you as you begin your job search.

For those who take advantage of internships, you can utilize what you learn to help you narrow down what you might be interested in – agency vs. internal, corporate vs. non-profit, etc. And for a lucky few, these internships could lead to a full-time position post-graduation.

For others, we’re left with the boundless listings on job search sites such as Monster, Indeed or Media Bistro, among others. A tool that is often times forgotten or untapped, however, is Facebook. While it might seem silly, it actually works. I found my current job from a post on Facebook. To help guide you in using this platform in your job search, here are three tips.

Maintain your public profile

While many will recommend you immediately change your privacy settings the day you graduate, it can work to your advantage to leave your profiles public. An employer can get a sense of who you are, your interests, and how you would fit in with the company. Additionally, you can amp up your presence by promoting your blog (if you have one) or further demonstrate how you stay on top of current trends with your status updates. Be sure to be authentic and genuine about this.

But that also means you must be aware of what photos are tagged of you, what your friends post on your wall, etc. Bear that in mind if you do decide to keep your profile public.

Identify what you “Like.”

By going through and finding companies on Facebook, and liking their business pages, you can stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the office, the culture, and what clients they handle (if it’s an agency).

Most companies – especially PR agencies – will share when they are looking to fill a new position. If you already decided to follow them, you’ll be able to save the time you would spend deciding whether or not you would be a good fit for the company if you found the job listing elsewhere online.


While you shouldn’t like every post that the company shares (this comes off as spam-my and frankly, annoying), by engaging with the company through likes and quality comments in moderation, they are more likely to recognize your name when your résumé hits their inbox.

At the end of the day, social media is a large part of a PR professional’s job description. What better way to get your foot in the door with your dream employer than starting a relationship on Facebook?

Have a tip on how to land your first job using Facebook? Share with us below!

Shandi HuberShandi Huber is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. An enthusiast for all social media platforms, you can often find her pinning her dream closet on Pinterest or posting photos of her new puppy on Instagram. Connect with Shandi on LinkedIn and Twitter (@shandihuber).