Summertime is here and some PR students don’t know what to do with their lives. I’m one of them. But instead of playing Candy Crush on my iPod and sleeping all day, I got to work-literally and figuratively. I’m working at the mass media department the whole day so I don’t have time to do an internship- like a few of my PR friends that I know. I would do an internship if I could, believe me- the more experience the better. But instead, I found things to do that would still help me hone my PR skills and keep me on my toes.
What can you do? Here are some suggestions to get busy during the summer and to improve and maintain your brand.
1) Update your social media profiles.
If you are in any student organization your term as officer probably ended, which means new titles, new positions, etc., so there’s content to update.
2) Update your website /portfolio.
If you have a website already, update it with your spring semester’s school or internship work. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to edit your site, summer is the time to do it. If you want to create your own site, you can use: wix.com, webs.com, weebly.com.
3) Update/redesign business cards and resume.
If you ran out of business cards, order some more. If you’d like a new look to your brand, experiment with templates or design one yourself. Create a matching business card and resume. Get creative. If you need help, you can read my posts about resume building and business card designs. You can also see my website here to find inspiration.
4) Engage in social media conversations.
A great way to maintain and expand your network is to participate in Twitter chats that are related to PR or any area that is of your interest. Click here to see all the Twitter chats available by date, time and topic.
Twitter is not the only platform. I found a Google+ Hangout by Edelman (top PR agency) and I tuned in. Out of randomness, I ran into a hangout about recruitment in Edelman which was super useful.
If you want to build your reputation on LinkedIn, follow the groups that you are interested in. See if there are any ongoing discussions and comment. If there are no topics that attract you, create one! If you don’t have an account, read the tips here to create one.
You can also participate in free/paid webinars. PRSA has several here and there are others that you can easily find if you Google it.
5) Schedule social media posts.
Now that you have time to surf on the web, check out BuzzFeed, Reddit, Mashable, TheBeehooved, the newspapers, etc. You’ll find useful content to share and comment on so take advantage of the free time and schedule those posts to maintain a presence in your social media account.
6) Contact professionals.
The academic year is crazy busy. You forgot to email/tweet people you met at a networking event or conference. You’ve been pushing to contact them back because it’s been so long. It may not be too late. Try to reconnect with them now that you have the time to do it.
7) Research companies.
If you know what organization you’d like to work at, research it. Take this time to learn about the company, read their press releases, tweets, articles, watch videos, and so forth. If you don’t know the company you’d like to work at, research several places you think might be of your interest and try to find a common connection among your contacts.
8) Start a new project.
If you are bored and want more samples for your portfolio, start a project. You don’t need an internship supervisor or your work boss to give you an assignment. Just create one!
There are multiple ongoing competitions and scholarships you can participate in (design, video, PR campaigns, etc.). This will build your resume, give you experience, hone your skills and maybe even get you a prize!
If you have a blog already, keep on posting. If you don’t have a blog, start one! You don’t necessarily need to blog about PR or communications. You can blog about anything. From venues, decorations, cakes, chocolate, road trips, to anything you find interesting. As long as you write about something you are passionate about, your skills will come through.
11) Check out successful campaigns.
PRSA, IABC and PRWeek among other organizations have recently released their award winners. You can read about the Silver Anvil Awards winners and their campaigns here. It’s not a bad idea to read about the most successful campaigns when you will be planning one in real life soon (internship, class or after graduation).
12) Sleep, rest and have fun.
Now it’ll seem that you have many things to do in a very short time. Use your time wisely, if you don’t do well without deadlines, set some. But don’t forget to sleep, rest and have fun! It’s summer after all.
What have you done this summer so far? Any plans or ideas to get busy? Please share them here!