As some of you who know me personally may be aware, I am currently the CIPR student representative for SSU. Alongside the opportunities for meeting other student representatives and professional members in the industry, this job role entails me organising and (hopefully successfully) running an annual event known as….. *drumroll, please* …… Meet The Professionals.
This event aims to bring together PR students and provide them with an opportunity to network with relatively local professionals who are currently in the industry. As a student who has benefitted from this event over the past couple of years it felt so good to be able to give back by hosting the event. Through my attendance last year I found somewhere for my summer work experience placement, an agency which later offered me a part-time job! The opportunities there are endless, whether the students are looking for future placements or just advice on how to get into the industry, who better to hear it from than professionals who have done it themselves!
I am so proud to be able to say that this years event has been our best yet, bringing together students from multiple courses, including advertising, marketing and, of course, PR. Around 30 professionals attended on the night with an innumerable turn out of students who kept them busy the whole time!
This, being the first event I have ever organised and run on my own, has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve taken on this year, but I’ve loved every second. Balancing organising Meet The Professionals alongside a part-time job and university work wasn’t easy, but I’m reaping in the benefits of the hard work! It has provided me with opportunities to network with so many different professionals in a wide range of agencies, even if they couldn’t attend the actual event, and it has taught me how to enthuse students about an event where there isn’t any free food. However, when you can encourage students to see the benefits of building a network of connections and making an impression in an agency before you’ve even applied for a job or placement, it becomes much easier.
Of course Meet The Professionals wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a few people, especially an alumni of my university. She previously ran the event last year and shared her expertise with me on how to achieve the best results possible. There were many other PR-based students who helped with the set up on the day and there is no way the event would have been as successful as it was without everyone’s help. Finally, if there’s even the smallest chance that one of the professionals is reading this, I want to thank all of you as well for dedicating your time to the next generation of PRs and passing along your hard earned knowledge!
So that’s it. Another skill added to my repertoire and one I cannot wait to refine it with my next event!