One of the most rewarding experiences for any professional is to mentor and help prospective candidates find his or her calling in the real world. In mid-November, Affect visited the PRSSA chapter of the Fashion Institute of Technology to do just that. In this interactive session, Sandra Fathi, President at Affect, spoke to a group of 30 budding professionals about the PR industry and what they can expect in the real world.
The vivid discussion also touched on the process involved with creating a media campaign, how to satisfy that entrepreneurial prowess and what agencies look for in an intern. Take a look at the highlights from the conversation:
What Advice do you have for Becoming an Entrepreneur?
- Get Experience First
Before fronting her own agency, Sandra worked as a tech journalist and held a variety of marketing positions. This experience gave her the confidence and the tools she needed to be able to direct and mentor her own employees once establishing Affect.
- Utilize Your Connections
Deciding you want to run your own business or agency is one thing, but you’re in charge of getting your own clients/customers and hiring your own employees. Sandra’s first group of employees included people she had worked with previously as well as referrals from trusted colleagues. Her first client, as well, turned out to be the employer she was leaving! Always keep connections open, because you never know when they can be especially handy.
- It’s Never the Right Time, Just Do It
One of the biggest issues when deciding to open a business is timing. When Sandra made the leap to quit her job, she already had a husband, child and a home. She says that you never feel 100% ready to take the leap – there are always reasons to stay in the safety of a day job. However, if it’s your calling, you will never work harder for anyone than for yourself. If you are ready to make that commitment, then it’s time to take a leap of faith.
What do Agencies Look for in an Intern?
- Attitude Over Experience
Despite previous experience being a plus, it isn’t required to be hired as an intern. A good attitude and willingness to learn is a critical component that can’t be taught in school or be learned at a prior internship.
- Be Prepared for the Interview and the First Day
By arriving to an interview prepared, you’re already showing initiative to a potential employer. Research the company, its employees, what industries it serves, previous case studies, and look at its social media profiles to get a feel for what the company is like. Prior to applying, it can even help guide whether or not it’s an internship that is a fit for you.
- Don’t “Pigeonhole” Your Options
Narrowing your search or goals by a specific industry or company can really limit and potentially hinder your interning experience. While it’s good to have goals and aspirations, experience is always valuable whether you learn that you love the topic or would prefer another industry.
To learn more about PRSSA or to get involved with the organization, visit their official webpage for more details.