It’s the holiday season and, for a senior in college, that means a lot of things: finals are right around the corner, I only have one more semester left at Elon and it’s time to start the post-grad job search. But, the arrival of the holidays also signifies that soon I will no longer be communications specialist here at RLF.
Looking back, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned and grown in the past four months. Before stepping off the elevator for the first time, I had never written a pitch or created a media list, and I’m pretty sure I’d never spoken to a professional reporter in my entire life. Now, I can say with confidence that I have done all those things and more.
I’ve had varied professional experiences during my time at Elon, but I’ve never had a position or class where I was writing as much as I do at RLF. In any given week, I could be writing a pitch, drafting a press release, writing tweets, ghostwriting for a client or writing for the RLF blog, all under the guidance of more seasoned professionals. These experiences have helped me round out my professional development and given me incredible writing samples that I can use in my job search this spring.
On top of the writing samples, I’ve gained skills in some of the behind-the-scenes work that makes media relations possible. As someone that had never touched media database Cision before, I am so happy to have had the opportunity to work with it as much as I have. I feel very comfortable using it, and I know that will be very helpful after graduation. I have done research on media placement opportunities for clients and updated coverage reports so we can keep track of the media placements we are getting for our clients. Each of these tasks has helped me understand the process of media relations better and given me experience with each step of the process.
I think that one of my favorite things about working at RLF is that from day one I was a part of the team. My edits, ideas and suggestions are taken seriously, and I can see the impact my work does for my clients. At the same time, everyone on the team has been great about teaching me. When I write something or create a media list, I don’t just get edits back; I get comments explaining why the changes were made which has allowed me to learn and apply these comments to future projects.
Just being in the office a few days a week has taught me so much about public relations. Getting to sit in on and participate in brainstorms and monthly social media meetings showed me what it means to work as a team to find direction for a client or campaign. The professionals at RLF really know what they’re doing, and seeing them in action has given me examples to emulate when I graduate and am in the workforce myself.
I can’t express my gratitude for this experience enough. When I walk out of the RLF office for the final time, I am leaving as a much more confident budding professional than when I started. I have so many more skills to offer my future employer because of the time I spent at RLF, and it has been such a meaningful stepping stone from student life to professional life.