By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
This episode of PR Hangover features Stephanie Kotschevar, WMPRSA board member and Public Relations Manager at Experience Grand Rapids. She speaks about the importance of getting involved, finding a job you love, and building relationships with professionals. Listen here!
Get involved during college
Your peers are all going to have a degree, so what makes you stand out? Stephanie recommends students actively engage in the opportunities that are available for them. Join organizations, network with your peers, and gain as much professional experience as possible. In her time at GVSU, Stephanie had three internships in different areas of PR. She was the PR intern for the School of Communications at GVSU, had a non-profit PR internship, and interned in Ireland for a PR agency.
Build relationships with professors & professionals
Despite what some students may think, Stephanie says that it’s not lame to build relationships with professors. It’s ok to be the person that sits in the front of the classroom and always answers questions. When you’re engaging with your professors and showing that you care about your future, you can strengthen your network.
Find a job you love
With the help of her professors and professional network, Stephanie was able to land her dream job right out of college. She wouldn’t have known about the position at Experience Grand Rapids if it wasn’t for her professor and mentor, Dr. Tim Penning.
It’s important to find a job that fits you. It may take some time, or it could happen right away, but Stephanie says not to get too wrapped up in finding a “PR job.” Many of the skills you’ve developed in your college experience will be listed under other job titles. Some organizations don’t have a budget for both a PR and marketing position, so they only have marketing. Don’t feel like you can’t search for marketing jobs, communications jobs, and any other job that lists the skills you have. “Diversity of thought is so important,” she says, and your skills will be applicable in more areas than you think.
Professional organizations – WMPRSA
“It’s all about who you know,” Stephanie says. Joining WMPRSA helped Stephanie explore her career path. She’s been able to network with her peers and build relationships, and was even awarded PR Newcomer of the Year. She became a board member so she could dive deeper into the organization. The events at WMPRSA have been a huge part of meeting other professionals and getting her name out there. Some of her favorite events include WMPRSA luncheon programs and speaking at GVSU PRSSA meetings.
To learn more, listen to this episode here.
Courtney Fogle is a junior studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently the Podcast Director for PRSSA and an account associate at GrandPR. Courtney is a singer-songwriter, with hopes to combine her love of music and PR so that she can work in the music industry managing artists and their brands. In her free time, you can find her listening to music or taking pictures of her cat, Oliver.