Going Above and Beyond Learning the Fundamentals

The job industry today is saturated with recently graduated and soon to graduate college students. As public relations students, we are expected to have three internships, have a side job, join school clubs such as PRSSA, take a 20 credit course schedule, know everything going on in the world, and excel in social media.

So why not add more to the long list of requirements to make yourself more attractive to potential employers?

With the job market the way it is, public relations agencies are beginning to look for employees who can adapt to the computer realm and be more involved in the creative process. This way the firm will not have to hire a public relations specialist and a creative computer genius.

Instead, they can hire you: the do-everything-under-the-sun, go getting, computer savvy, force-to-be-reckoned-with employee.

So how do you become this perfect employee?

In-depth knowledge of Adobe Suite is a great way to begin diversifying your skills to be more versatile in public relations. Knowing how to use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dream Weaver, Flash Builder, Soundbooth and the other Adobe Suite software will put you light years beyond other perspective employees.

Students and educators can receive discounts for these products at Creative Suite 5 for education.

These programs are very detailed but not difficult to use. There are many classes you can take and websites out there to help you in the Adobe Suite adventure.

My favorite sites to use for quick note are the YouTube videos. If you search, for example, “how to use Adobe InDesign CS5” into the Google search engine you will

Example of what you can do with Photoshop CS5

find videos that cover almost every technique you will need. Also try CS5 Unofficial Adobe CS5 blog because they have great videos and information to get you on your way.

Another site that is extremely useful but is more time intensive and costs a few dollars a month is Lynda.com. My suggestion for is to dedicate one month to learning how to use various software. Then, sign up for a one-month account and learn as much as you can. This site is great because they show you how to use it and then give you a chance to try your new skills.

There are other opportunities to broaden your public relations capabilities such as learning Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 if you are planning on creating videos. Many of Apple’s creativity software programs are very helpful for professional products. Again, searching through Google is a great way to get fundamental skills in these software programs. My  favorite educational website right now is ehow.com because they give you step-by-step instructions and have videos for those visual learners out there.

Since the world is converting to the Internet for almost every type of communication, it would be beneficial to learn how the Internet works. Having CSS and HTML under your belt is a great way to show employers that you are ready to take on the Internet world. Learning these skills is more time intensive, especially if you do not have a website programmer as a best friend. So, to learn the details of CSS and HTML, try w3schools.com because they give you a split screen with CSS on the left and the real website you are creating on the right. What you type into the CSS side changes the visible website on the right.

Two other great sites for CSS and HTML education are A List Apart and the WordPress blog support page.

These are just some examples of how to increase your worth to employers. You will learn loads of information, and if you are like me, you will have a hoot hollering good time learning it.

If I have missed something or you have other extracurricular skills public relations students should know, please feel free to comment. It is all about learning, so spread the wealth. Thank you.


About jedavis13

Student at the University of Oregon majoring in journalism and concentrating in public relations.
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