An article in last week's PRWeek (subscription required) caught my attention. In essence, the piece highlights how some public relations/communication students are having trouble connecting with and learning from veterans in the industry.
Last year, I was contacted by 22 students seeking advice and information about what it is like to work in communications today. The majority of them found me through alumni association career networks or LinkedIn. More than half were undergraduates and studying disciplines such as communications, computer science, public relations, political communications, political science or journalism. I responded to all 22 and met with 18 of them in person. During all of these meetings, students asked for insight into how professional communications has changed and wanted my opinion regarding what types of skills would make them more marketable in an extremely competitive hiring environment. I enjoyed meeting with each and every one of the students and several of them have kept in touch with me.
That's why I was surprised by the PRWeek piece.
When I first started out in communications, I was blessed that several senior level communicators served as my official and unofficial mentors. I have reached out to other communicators at all professional levels over the years and have shared and received amazing insight and advice.
The number one reason I make time for students interested in public relations/communications is you never know what you'll learn. More importantly, the students are the professionals of tomorrow. They could be your future employees, future clients, or future boss. Engage with them now to impart your knowledge and learn as much from them as possible. You'll be very glad you did. Trust me.