By: Hunter Burin (@HunterBurin)

For us interested in the fields of advertising and public relations, it can be intimidating at first to talk to professionals while searching for jobs. Luckily, we have the resource of PRSSA at our fingertips which provides so many opportunities to learn about the world or advertising and public relations. One of these wonderful opportunities is the agency tours that we embark on, which I was lucky enough to experience. GVSU’s PRSSA chapter teamed up with Advertising Club on a journey to Holland, Michigan to tour Next Creative Co, Fairly Painless, and Haworth, which are all very unique companies.

Our first stop was Next Creative Co, a marketing and design firm that had just started out in Holland and already has some amazing work to showcase. They sat us down and told us about how they came to be, how the of the end of an older company motivated them to start something new. I loved hearing about the work that they did for Saginaw Valley, and seeing the videos they made for the Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. They were able to use video very effectively in showcasing different emotions for different clients.

After we visited Next Creative Co, we took a short walk down to Fairly Painless’ Holland office and were given a warm welcome as we arrived. In a very personal tour, we were walked through some of the work that they have done for clients in the past few years. This ad agency may be a lot older than Next, but their ideas for clients are as innovative as can be. With campaigns that are as off-the-wall as they are carefully crafted, it was great to learn about how to balance the two in order to make your work truly stand out.

The last place we toured was Haworth, a furniture company based in Holland. This was the first time I have ever toured a corporate office and I was very interested in seeing how everything was run. As with the last two tours, we were welcomed with open arms and showed the ins and outs of the company. I never knew how many logistics went into the furniture industry and how interesting it was until we were shown around the offices. We were fed snacks and learned about how Haworth interacted with customers and its employees. I really enjoyed learning about how a big company is able to create such a fun and collaborative work environment.

The whole experience was very eye-opening to me. These wonderful companies all took time out of their days to show a group of college kids where they worked, and they did so in a passion that was extremely admirable. Every place that we visited was proud of the work that they had done, and were more than happy to show us around and answer all of our questions. As students, I know how easy it is to get caught up in our world of classes and clubs on campus. We need to remind ourselves that the reason we are going to school is to get into the professional field, and we should explore that as often as possible. It may be intimidating to get out there in the real world, but as I have learned through these agency tours and my interactions with other professionals in the field, everyone is extremely happy to welcome you and show you the ropes. So I encourage you: go out to that job fair, to the next agency tour, to whatever it may be, and get to know the people that you may end up working alongside in a few years. You never know if that next connection could change your life forever.

Hunter Burin is a junior studying at Grand Valley State University. He currently hosts GVSU PRSSA’s podcast “PR Hangover.” Hunter loves learning more about technology and is interested in business.