Emily Beckstrom studies media communications and public relations at Troy University. She works for the university newspaper and is a member of the National Communication Association’s honor society, Lamba Pi Eta. She also works in advertising, public relations and marketing for TG Madison and runs her own blog called The Blonde Ensemble. She loves fashion, big cities, social media, and the color pink.
If there is anything I have learned in my four years of college, it is the importance of communication. There is not anything more powerful than making connections and forming a network. Familiarizing yourself with communication tools such as social media platforms, email, telephone and face-to-face interaction will help prepare you for future career opportunities.
First, you need to find your focus, something that inspires you and makes you happy. After you establish a major, and a minor if required, you begin towards that degree and you start to interact face-to-face with classmates and professors. I cannot stress enough- form professional relationships with your professors. Forming relationships with classmates is important but your classmate has learned the same amount of material you have learned. Professors are professional educators, with degrees and experience in the industry you want to succeed. They are older, wiser and know exactly what you want to know. The best part: all you have to do is ask questions, in class and during office hours (most professors state their office hours on the first day of class).
Second, you must know how to use social media to successfully communicate with others. We are living in the digital age; therefore, technology is the dominant source of communication today. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are just a few examples of popular social media websites used by millions around the world. Everyone is connected through a network.
Advertising brands, products, websites, etc. through social media is the easiest and most efficient way to reach out to your audience. LinkedIn should be a requirement in the college and career world. Basic knowledge of this website could change your whole life. LinkedIn is a professional website created to help advertise yourself and your expertise, achievements, career experience, education, etc. This makes it easier for prospective employers to connect with you and learn more about you than just a resume could provide. Digital technology is the key to success in most industries today, and most industries require some type of knowledge in computer programs and social media platforms.
Finally, yet importantly, step out of your comfort zone. Actively participating in on-campus activities is a way to build relationships with people who have the same interest as you. A good way to start is by researching different organizations that you may be interested in. There are many on-campus organizations for students to join. Some popular examples of organizations would be a fraternity/sorority, honor societies, intramural sports and clubs that relate to your major. Each organization has benefits and will not only strengthen your ability to communicate, but will also introduce you to new ideas and relationships that last a lifetime.
College is the time to shape your future, your career, and build relationships. One of the most important skills I have learned in my college career is time management. Time management is important because successful college students must learn to balance grades, extracurricular activities and relationships. Grades are important, but they are not everything. A good balance of all three will shape you for success.