Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Student view: "Investment in future pays off"


Photo by Linda Horn Photography
The following is an article written by Justin Reis, a recent Post-Graduate Public Relations Program and Loyalist College. The article appeared in the June 15th edition of The Intelligencer newspaper:

A year ago, I was in full panic mode. I had just graduated from Carleton University, but didn’t have anything close to resembling a job opportunity in my field of study.

Now, one year later, I have landed a job at a great company, and it comes as a direct result of my decision to take the Post-Graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College.

After I graduated from university, I went looking for a program where I could pursue my favourite aspect of my university experience: Public Relations. I chose the program at Loyalist because its small class size offered me the most intimate experience, and a course list that focused on PR for smaller-scale organizations. It also provided an internship opportunity at the end of the program, a major selling point for me.

Ultimately, I came to Loyalist to improve my chances of getting a job. I had some knowledge of the theory of Public Relations, but little experience with how to put that knowledge into action.

Loyalist PR taught me a lot of skills to prepare me for the world of public relations, but the most valuable parts of the program were the opportunities to volunteer and to make connections. Volunteering allowed me to build my skills and résumé while doing something for the community, and I was able to network at the same time.

Networking ended up being the most powerful tool in my job search. The most important connection I made was during a trip organized by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS). They took us on a tour of PR agencies in the downtown Toronto area, and one stop was at a research firm called Ipsos Reid. While we were there, I tried to chat with everyone on the tour. I made connections, and landed an internship with the company.

Ipsos Reid was a perfect fit for me, since I completed my undergraduate degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management. I had experience in communications, statistics, and PR, which was a perfect match with their company.

I interned with the Public Affairs division of Ipsos Reid for the month of April, where I assisted with the Global @dvisor division. Global @dvisor is a monthly poll run in 24 countries around the world, gathering opinion data on a wide range of subjects for public, private, and internal clients.

During my time there, I helped to turn their statistical findings into media releases while making sure to stay completely true to the data. I enjoyed my experience at Ipsos, and have come away from the internship with a perspective on office life, real-world experience writing media releases, and (most importantly) a job offer.

Now, one year from the time I made the decision to come to Loyalist, I have a portfolio demonstrating all of the skills I learned in the program, real world experience, and a job. I can safely say that my year at Loyalist was one of the best investments I have ever made.