By Grete Lavrenz, Carmichael Lynch Relate General Manager
How do we attract great new talent to the public relations industry during pandemic times and an economic downturn?
For those coming into the field, it’s forced a new kind of resilience. When many summer internships and jobs were put on hold because of changes in the economy, students and graduates have had to get scrappy about their future.
Carmichael Lynch Relate is among the PR Council member agencies supporting an educational and career development program for college students and 2020 graduates interested in public relations. The PR Council “Agency-Ready Certificate” was created for those who want to keep the momentum going despite uncertainty regarding job opportunities. The more than 5,000 participants from across the country have access to webinars taught by agency leaders on topics that they would normally only be exposed to when working or interning, such as strategic planning, social media and media relations.
Julie Batliner, president, and I presented “Best Practices in Marketing Integration from the PR Standpoint,” a webinar with an inside view into our firm’s integrated marketing approach. We shared how individual disciplines – creative, paid media, PR, social, brand planning, production and analytics – come together. Through a variety of real-life examples, we demonstrated how PR subject matter experts can collaborate effectively to find holistic solutions to a marketing challenge and deliver measurable business results for clients.
We developed our presentation to teach these students and graduates a thing or two about working at an integrated agency and why we find it so inspiring every day. But really, we learned a lot from them by their immediate questions, their Zoom chatting and their follow-up interactions.
The graduating class of 2020 is the first to enter their career years with a very different educational experience. From completing their final term through distance learning to celebrating their successes with an online graduation, they are now forced to try to join a virtual workplace that runs on Microsoft Teams and Slack. But instead of being discouraged by their prospects, we found the “Agency-Ready Certificate” program participants to be incredibly motivated to keep learning in whatever way possible, to be the ultimate LinkedIn networkers and to be highly adaptive to the situation they are in.
So while the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many elements of the profession, both current and future PR practitioners are making the most of it and embracing the change.