The Bigger the City, the Brighter the Lights

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Published on February 28, 2017, at 10:50 a.m.
by Meredith Folsom.

As a PR student, I’ve noticed that to make it big in the industry you most likely need to live in a city. Although living in a small town in rural Connecticut might seem nice, it most likely won’t challenge or satisfy you on the public relations job front.

It makes sense that all the “10 Best Places for Top Pay PR Jobs”  are found in cities. There are some things that a city can offer you that a small town just can’t — and that’s OK. But recognizing the opportunities that lay in both job growth and personal growth in a city is key. Now I am not saying that every PR professional needs to live in a city or that you won’t find success outside of a city, but I will say, it is easier to grow in a city.

 In summer of 2015 I tried to fit 10 weeks of business casual clothes into a duffle bag and headed to New York City. Here are some tips that I learned that can help both a student entering an internship program or a graduate starting his or her career.

 

See what your university offers in that city.
Much to my surprise, my school seemed to have a mini-community in New York City. There was a Facebook page that connected University of Alabama interns — allowing me to have an immediate shared interest with others in the city who all love the Tide.

These Facebook pages often let interns know when there are community meet-ups or even University-hosted events. It’s a great way to get out and socialize but also network and build connections at the same time. We all know that at the end of the day, PR students and professionals thrive off the ability to network.

This is also pertinent for recent grads: Check out what your alumni association offers. Many cities have a designated college bar that airs school-specific sports events on all the TVs. It’s like finding your favorite college town bar in a city — such as an Innisfree for UA students and alumni in New York City. Casual events, like watching the Tide win, can allow you to create a social life with people who hold similar interests. Suddenly Bryant-Denny Stadium doesn’t seem so far away.

Build relationships within your company.
I was always hesitant to build friendships with co-workers out of the office. I felt like it was unprofessional, but I’ve learned that it’s not. As long as you build boundaries between work and life, you can meet some great people in your office.

If you’re working at a big company, then you may even have some alumni within the building. Ask around; most people want to sit down for coffee and talk about their college experiences with someone who has also been there – or is currently still attending.

If you are feeling overwhelmed …
View this part as a segment of your life and not your whole life. It can be pretty daunting if you see this big geographical change as a forever movement. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Nothing in life is permanent. However, once you understand that this experience will catapult you to a whole new level for PR jobs, you’ll suddenly realize the invaluable benefits of taking that leap.

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Get involved as quickly as possible.
Lastly, my greatest piece of advice is to get out there! You won’t build connections or grow if you don’t put yourself out there. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s new. But heck yes, it’s a big city that can offer you so much if you just let it.

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