Not too long ago we sponsored a table at San Jose State University Communications Resource Day. The school’s award winning program can be found at http://jmcweb.sjsu.edu/index.html.

Students, both undergraduate and graduate stormed the conference for tips and advise on starting a career in PR. Starry eyed and optimistic few came with resumes. Those that did had some great stories to tell about their experience working as baristas, bartenders and burrito ambassador. Yes, I thought I’ve seen most job titles blaze a resume over the years but burrito ambassador was a new title that amused me. Yes, Chipotle has not only created great burritos but titles to go with the extra craftsmanship. You can go to http://chipotlog.com/ for more information. When I asked the burrito ambassador what his job responsibilities were he replied “I make burritos.” I then replied tell me about the skills you use in your job that can be applied to a career in PR. Pondering for a minute he quickly told me about his job in about the time it takes to make a burrito. Oh, I replied “you are not just an ordinary burrito maker; you are a team leader, task master, and mentor and time manager which are all good skills to tout.” It turned out he was using Facebook, MySpace and other social media tools too. Not surprised since the new hipsters are all hooked up. Again, I stressed the importance to detail his communications and collaboration knowledge on his resume. A month later I received the resume rewritten and it read like someone that had been in the industry for at least 5 years. Very impressive.
Others wanted to get started in PR to become actors. One wanted to join a hot start-up and retire young. Few wanted to really work in high tech public relations. I shared the variety of opportunities on both corporate and agency side….and changed a few minds. Our agency intern attended this event with me. She was already quite experienced in her 4 month tenure and with enthusiasm shared her journey from text book to agency with the students. At one point we had a crowd of 6-7 students at a time. Other agencies attending merely handed out their brochure while we gave as many tips and advise as possible. Our intern not only impresses us daily but she had the future professionals at bay too.

So has we approach the end of another school year. College graduates will be knocking on your door. Beyond GPAs, writing samples and summer jobs there lies a goldmine of new energy and talent eager to get into the business. Mentoring is good for the soul.
Recommended PR resources for students, professionals and novices.
www.prsa.com
www.bulldogreporter.com
http://www.odwyerpr.com/