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Summer Bucket List for PR Grads

Summer Bucket List for PR Grads

[By Kait Fowlie]

The best way to make the most of your summer? Conquer a set of goals that will advance your professional development and land you in a better position to find a job in PR and rock it this fall. Here are 13 suggestions for getting active in the industry this summer.

Host a Twitter chat

If you’re a blogger or already have an active social community you chat with regularly, hosting a Twitter chat can really grow and strengthen that community. If you don’t feel quite ready to host your own chat, find some you want to join in on, mark them in your calendar, and make a point to take notes on what you think makes a great host.

Take a coding workshop

Chances are, your job will require you to co-create content with other writers, marketers, and / or developers. Having a basic understanding of each part in the process will make you a more versatile and valuable employee.

Clean up your Twitter following list

Declutter your Twitter feed – follow only the people you care to see tweets from. Gini Dietrich recommends creating a list of bloggers and journalists you’ll want to connect with this year. “This will make it easy to follow them, share their work, and start conversations (which lead to relationships.)”

Find a mentor – or 10

It’s always important to have a mentor to look up to and learn from – and you don’t have to recruit an official mentor by formally reaching out to someone. Benefiting from the support and wisdom of an influencer in the industry might look like subscribing to their YouTube channel, reading everything they’ve published, and reaching out to them on social media in the ways you see fit. A rock star influencer can teach you tons without ever meeting you.

Conduct a personal audit/SWOT analysis

Jason Mollica recommends conducting a personal audit to take a critical look at your career. “The SWOT analysis is something I love to do. It forces you to pick out your weaknesses. But, it also shows where you may be missing the boat on something.” 

Get journalism experience

It never hurts to know how to write clean, crisp copy like journalists. To get some experience, pitch an idea for a guest post on a blog you like, or even write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

Learn your way around Google Analytics

Learning your way around Google Analytics will help you with measurement, reporting, and seeing the “big picture” in your next job.

Make a YouTube video

2015 has been called “the year of video marketing,” which means if you haven’t thought about your video know-how, now is the time! The best way to learn is by doing – try your hand at making a video. Check out James Wedmore on YouTube for some practical, actionable advice.

Revamp your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is an underutilized tool for making professional connections and engaging with important content. We’ve got a few tips to help PR pros (and aspiring pros) use LinkedIn better.

Write your personal mission statement

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey recommends writing a personal mission statement as a way to focus your sights on what you want to be in terms of character and what you want to achieve. He suggests starting a collection of notes, quotes, and ideas you want to use as resource material in writing your personal mission statement. Like a career goal, your personal mission statement likely won’t be created overnight.

Buy your name as a domain

If you’re hoping to make a name for yourself in PR, claim your online domain now. Your website will be the main hub where people can go to learn about you, read your work, etc. It’s the best way to take control of what people see when they search for you.

Become a confident networker

Take every opportunity that you can to network this summer. The best networking happens when you can be present and genuine – the more comfortable you feel while doing it, the more effective you can be at it.

Define your idea of success

When it comes to your career, you define your own metrics of success. Come up with some long term and short term goals and benchmarks, and map out the route you’ll take to get there. Without knowing your indicators of progress, you won’t know how far you’ve come!

As Zig Ziglar said, “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Remember that as you push your comfort zones while networking, listening, and learning this summer. No matter how small the progress you make, conquering goals always pays off.

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