If you’ve never worked with student practitioners, you might be concerned about the value they’ll bring to your organization or whether coaching could be a drain on resources. For Martin Waymire, and for myself personally, we find that students are a crucial aspect of our team, bringing fresh perspectives and energy to Martin Waymire’s operations. Right now we employ three student practitioners, and every one of them is assigned to client accounts and is a crucial part of our team. And when you have a staff of 12, you need everybody to step up to the plate and contribute.
I was recently nominated to serve as the PRSSA advisor, the student chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at Michigan State University for CMPRSA and love my new position on the board. While this commitment adds to my already busy schedule, it also reaps countless rewards. The student practitioners at Martin Waymire and the students I’m working with at MSU have provided insight and learning experiences that I value, including a glimpse into how I work best with others. I truly believe the students I’ve worked with have taught me just as much as I’ve taught them.
How mentoring benefits professionals and young practitioners:
We all had the person who helped us land where we are today, be appreciative and complete the circle by taking a student practitioner, intern or newbie under your wing. You’d be surprised at how fulfilling it is to mentor and guide a young and enterprising public relations practitioner.
Different personalities instantly click, while others might need work. Digest how the students in your office may complement your efforts or what you might need to do to help them better understand their role in the office. By understanding how others communicate, you ultimately will understand more about yourself.
Teaching is the ultimate way to better understand a subject. By teaching others, you drive home those topline messages in your head as well.
Stay on top of trends
You may also be surprised what young practitioners can ultimately teach you about technology or trends. One of our students recently introduced me to a tool that allows you to merge PDFs seamlessly in one place. Another student recommended Google Keep to merge my love of lists and visuals.
The students in your office impressing everyone with their Excel skills are going to be the wizards of the PR industry down the road. Many of Martin Waymire’s student practitioners have advanced in the field and continue to impress. Investing in those enterprising go-getters will continue to grow your contacts and your network.
Mentoring matters and so does investing, which is why I look forward to continuing to work with student practitioners in the office and as PRSSA advisor.
Has your organization worked with interns or student practitioners? How do you ensure they are able to contribute to your team and grow their skills? Share your thoughts with us, or reach out to get some of our expertise, if you’re thinking of hiring your first student practitioner.