Published on January 22, 2018, at 11:25 a.m.
by Brooke Bailey.
With the new year comes new opportunities to reevaluate your goals and to set a brand new path for the coming months. If you’re looking to change up your resolutions this year and get away from your typical lose weight/work out/learn to cook goals, this is the list you need!
By no means do you have to follow all of these resolutions. Be selective with what you choose! Your new year’s resolutions are about you, so choose ones that you can follow and that you’re interested in.
1. Write more (and get published)
We all know that public relations is a writing-focused major, and you’re probably doing a lot of writing in your classes. If you are, that’s great! Think about getting that work published if you’re not already. There are tons of websites that accept submissions from writers (ahem, platformmagazine.org/contribute-to-platform) and even if your piece doesn’t get picked up, it’s always great to have some pitching experience under your belt.
If you aren’t taking any writing classes this semester, supplement that lack of work by joining the writing staff for a publication on your campus! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a journalism major to write for your campus newspaper or magazine and, in fact, joining organizations outside of your major looks great on a résumé (more on that later).
If you love to cook or to watch movies, find a platform to write about that! Having published work in your portfolio shows potential employers that you’ve got the writing chops to get the job done.
2. Stay updated on the news … but know your limits
You’ve probably heard 10,000 times that you should be keeping up to date on up-to-the-minute news. This is great advice! You should know what’s going on because it could affect you, your job, your family or help to foster conversation between you and your friends or you and the person interviewing you for that internship you really want. But in this time of constant news, you also have to know when to take a break.
Personally, I found that checking the news and getting constant news updates sent to my phone was affecting my mental health. And it’s probably affecting yours, too. Turn off those push notifications for a little bit every day, and don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you. Use the time to watch some cute dog videos or read or paint or listen to a non-news podcast. Knowing your limits when staying updated on the news will help keep you sane.
3. Get involved outside of your major
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a member of PRSSA — or another professional PR-related organization. That’s great! PRSSA is an amazing organization that does amazing things for PR students! But if the only things that are listed on your résumé center around your major, you need to take a serious look at diversifying.
Look around your campus for something you might be passionate about, or that you might want to know more about; your school probably has a cool film festival or a weekly farmers market you can get involved with. Having interesting experiences to include on your résumé is a great conversation starter and could give you an edge during the interview process. Most PR students are involved in their PRSSA chapter, their student-run firm and/or their case-study competition team, but you’ll probably have some pretty great anecdotes about being the communications officer for your school’s Latin cooking club.
4. Do something great in your community
This one can probably go without explanation, but I think it should be on everyone’s perennial new year’s resolution list. There are tons of ways you can make a positive impact on your community, from volunteering at your local food bank and helping out with your city’s annual arts festival to planting gardens at elementary schools and heading down to the water to help with the river clean-up project.
If you’re an animal lover, volunteer your savvy social media skills at your local shelter. Social media is one of the best ways to create visibility for adoptable animals, and you could help some homeless pets find their way home. Offering your budding PR skillset to local organizations who can’t afford a full-time communications professional is a great way for you to gain experience in a real-world setting and for you to pay forward the things you’re learning in class.
5. Invest in yourself and reevaluate your application materials
Summer is creeping toward us at an ever-quickening pace, and if you haven’t already been applying for internships (or real-life jobs), you will be soon. Now is the time to invest in yourself and your future by upgrading your application and interview materials.
If you have some leftover holiday money, consider spending it on a new interview outfit or two. Right now it might seem like a better idea to buy those super cute new boots you’ve had your eye on, but you’ll be kicking yourself in a few months when you don’t own anything nice enough to wear to your interviews. If you’re in a tight spot and can’t afford to buy a whole new outfit, consider slowly replacing a few pieces at a time, or checking to see if your school has a business clothing rental service.
While things are a little slow in the semester, consider reevaluating and updating your application materials. Make sure your résumé is updated, replenish your writing samples with new work, and if you’ve been thinking about creating a personal portfolio website, now’s the time! Website services like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly are great for beginners and require absolutely zero coding knowledge. If you’ve got a career fair on the horizon, look into having some business cards printed; these are great little reminders that you can leave with recruiters and will show that you’ve put some time and investment into your future.
6. Practice self-care
Last, make time to practice self-care. PR is a high-energy career, but that doesn’t mean you have to be going 100 percent all day, every day. Self-care can be as simple as taking a bubble bath and going to bed early, but it can also include things like cleaning your apartment, visiting with a friend’s dog or baking your favorite dessert.
An element of self-care that I find super important in my own life is evaluating my commitments and stress levels. If I see that I’m frenzied about getting my work turned in on time for class, going to six meetings a week, working and making time to see my friends, I try to find ways to take a step back.
Obviously you can’t really do that with school work, but you can ask for less hours at work for a week or two while you get back on track, you can let one of your organizations know that you won’t be able to make it that week, or you can stay in one night instead of going out with friends. I often struggle with completely removing myself from an organization, but if I know that I’m suffering (or that my grades are suffering), I can prioritize.
Do you have a PR-related new year’s resolution that we didn’t cover here? Leave a comment or send us a tweet to share!