1. Name: Lauren Edelman
2. Current job, past jobs: Currently Account Coordinator at XA, The Experiential Agency; previously Senior Publicist at VanNice PR; Events & Marketing Intern at Michigan Avenue Magazine; Social Media Intern at Connect Media Ventures
3. Last school attended; major: Graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Marketing and minor in Management
4. Did you need to have an internship to help get your jobs? Yes, having internships and previous job experience helped get my foot in the door for many job interviews. I graduated in a very competitive marketplace where hundreds of people were competing for one job. The best thing I learned was to differentiate myself from my competition with relevant past experience.
5. Did you contact prospective employers cold? What percentage of your search was conducted online? What were your best and worst interviews?During my job search I contacted prospective employers via the Internet, through friends and family who had contacts in the industry and a few cold calls/emails. A majority of my search was done online. I used job-posting websites, went directly to company websites and used DePaul’s databases.
Overall I had a good interview experience. I felt the most confident in interviews where I could relate past work experience and what I had learned at DePaul to the position. I had two interviews where I could tell the interviewee had already picked a candidate before I interviewed. Those were the most frustrating since I had spent so much time preparing for the interview.
6. What is the biggest obstacle you deal with now? School debt; life-work balance; job satisfaction; lack of promotion opportunities; time management? Working throughout college helped me learn how to balance work, studies and a personal life. Having this balance made the transition to a full-time position easier: I am happy with the life-work balance I have created. When you first start a full-time job, it takes practice to work the most efficiently in a timely manner.
7. Who would be your ideal mentor? How have you sought a mentor and how has that person played a role in your career? My ideal mentor would be a co-worker who also has experience in another industry. Having mentors in a variety of fields offers multiple perspectives and can help you learn new and efficient ways of doing your job.
8. How and where do you network with others in your field? When I attended DePaul, we were required to attend networking events. Looking back on this experience, I saw how these networking events helped me gain the skill set to approach new people and connect with them on a professional level.
During my job search I tried to network and connect with anyone and everyone. You never know who will have a job opening. Friends and family played a large role in my networking as well. They were able to support and connect me with their contacts that were in the fields that I wanted to explore. Currently, I am able to network with fellow colleagues and others at many media dinners and events in Chicago.
9. What conferences or networking events do you attend? What would your ideal conference address? I have not yet attended a work conference.
10. What helpful advice can you give to someone who wants to follow in your field? Are there special classes they should take in high school or college? What internships should be applied for? My advice to someone who wants to start in public relations would be to get familiar with the industry. Research a variety of PR companies and how they are different from one another. Also be aware that public relations covers many different industries and some companies specialize in a certain industry. Read magazines and articles about PR and how the industry is evolving. Contact companies that you are interested in and ask for an informational interview. This way you can learn first-hand about the company and get a feel for the work environment.
Taking a Communications or Pubic Relations class in college would be a great start to see if the PR field is something you would want to pursue. I was a Marketing major and did not take any Communications classes, but I think it would have helped to gain insight into the PR industry.
Internships in social media, planning, events or marketing would benefit a PR career. There are so many different tasks associated with Public Relations that I think having a diverse background in the above fields would be a helpful tool. A social media background or internship would be beneficial for almost any industry including PR.
My last piece of advice, which could be the hardest to follow, is to try to not get too stressed out. Finding a job can feel overwhelming and daunting. It’s important to find a good fit between yourself and the company: Don’t rush into the first job offer you get. Take your time and make sure that you can benefit from the company just as much as the company can benefit from you.