PR, social media or marketing?

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Q:  I am interested in pursuing a career in public relations, social media or marketing.  What is a good first step if I am interested in this career path?  I am a strong writer and have good attention to detail.  I am a sophomore in college and hope to find a fall internship, which would give me some experience in this type of company.  Do you have any advice for a student like me?

A: Congratulations on selecting your field of interest.  An internship is a smart first step in gaining practical experience, expanding your professional network and testing out this field. 

Haley Sinacole, Account Executive of Matter Communications is Boston-based professional, with expertise in PR, social media and marketing. 

Sinacole shared the following advice:

Use the career department/school connections: Your college’s career center is a great resource to learn about potential internship opportunities, job availability, interview tips and connect with alumni in industries of interest to you.  Even a quick meeting with a counselor at the career center can help you figure out a starting point for researching internships.  Additionally, connect with alumni from your school on LinkedIn, particularly those who are currently working in PR, social media or marketing.  Broadening your network and connecting with fellow alums is an excellent step.  Even if they aren’t aware of current employment opportunities, they can keep your name in mind for future opportunities or connect you with others.

Don’t limit your mindset: Try to have a broad view when searching for internship experience.  If a position isn’t strictly PR, social media or marketing, it may still have invaluable experience in the industry and help you learn what you do and don’t like in a career.  Be open to different types of roles, as you may be pleasantly surprised!

Stay updated on current media trends:  A large part of a career in PR is keeping your finger on the pulse of the media, watching ongoing social media trends and campaigns, and staying up to date with the news.  Subscribing to newsletters or digests from media outlets ensures that you stay up to date and impress interviewers with your knowledge!  Some favorites are AdWeek, Morning Brew and Social Media Today.

Sinacole’s advice applies to many industries and particularly students and recent grads.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.