photo of Bellmont Partners staff with college students

What We Wish We Knew: Career Tips for College Seniors Going Into Strategic Communications

One of the things we love at Bell­mont Part­ners is shar­ing career tips with col­lege stu­dents! From host­ing stu­dents in our offices, to attend­ing speak­ing engage­ments with Pub­lic Rela­tions Stu­dent Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca (PRSSA) chap­ters, to net­work­ing with stu­dents at local events – we love get­ting to know the next gen­er­a­tion of PR pro­fes­sion­als. Our team reflect­ed on things they wish they would’ve known in their senior years of col­lege and shared their insights on what to expect in the excit­ing but often nerve-wrack­ing peri­od ahead.

Accord­ing to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, employ­ment of pub­lic rela­tions spe­cial­ists is pro­ject­ed to grow 6 per­cent from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than the aver­age for all occu­pa­tions. Col­lege stu­dents that enter pub­lic rela­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions jobs often major in Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies, Mar­ket­ing, Busi­ness and more. A Jour­nal­ism major also pro­vides a strong foun­da­tion for a career in pub­lic rela­tions, as many of our team mem­bers are for­mer journalists.

The world of PR and the career paths avail­able are only grow­ing — the emer­gence of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties and data-dri­ven PR are among trends to watch for when enter­ing pub­lic rela­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions fields.


Direc­tor Megan Derkey advis­es col­lege seniors to make as many con­nec­tions as they can, both with fel­low stu­dents and with peo­ple in the indus­tries they want to pur­sue. Specif­i­cal­ly, Megan advis­es,“Use your stu­dent sta­tus to your advan­tage and request infor­ma­tion­al meet­ings, and get involved in busi­ness-focused orga­ni­za­tions like PRSSA, Women in Busi­ness, AdFed2, etc. Try to take on intern­ships while you fin­ish up school as well, both to gain expe­ri­ence and to help you fig­ure out what sort of set­ting you’d like to find your­self in – B2B, B2C, cor­po­rate, agency, start­up, huge glob­al com­pa­ny, etc. There are so many options out there, and you’re at the best time in your life to explore them all!”

Megan is also a huge advo­cate for study­ing abroad, even if it’s just for a Jan­u­ary term or a cou­ple weeks. “Trav­el as much as pos­si­ble to expand your perspective!”

Stay open

Senior Account Exec­u­tive Syd­ney Schoe­ber­le advis­es stu­dents to stay open to all of the dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties after grad­u­a­tion. Reflect­ing on her own expe­ri­ence, she says, “Try not to sweat it if you don’t land your dream job or com­pa­ny right out of the gate, or don’t even know what those are for you! Stay­ing open to the var­i­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties that find their way to you can make a big dif­fer­ence in where you end up lat­er on. I didn’t quite know what I want­ed to do with my PR degree after grad­u­at­ing and had always thought not hav­ing an answer to the ques­tion, ‘What’s your dream job?’ was a weak­ness. But I’ve learned to see it as a strength. By explor­ing what’s out there and say­ing ‘yes’ to dif­fer­ent odd jobs and posi­tions, I have been chal­lenged and have learned new skills that have ulti­mate­ly shaped my view of what I want out of my career.

“When I was a senior in col­lege, I didn’t think agency life was for me at all. But here I am at Bell­mont Part­ners four years lat­er and it’s a great fit! It took explor­ing oth­er options first for me to see that though. And now I get to apply those cre­ative expe­ri­ences and pas­sions I picked up along the way to my cur­rent role – like learn­ing the impor­tance of hav­ing a lot of vari­ety in my day and how much I enjoy work­ing with non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. So, take a breath, and have fun explor­ing what’s next!”

You are more than your skills

Own­er and Pres­i­dent Bri­an Bell­mont shares one piece of advice with almost every col­lege stu­dent he talks with. “While under­stand­ing how to for­mat a news release or know­ing how many char­ac­ters a post on a spe­cif­ic social plat­form needs can be help­ful, it’s not a require­ment for get­ting hired, at least not at our agency,” he says. “Much more impor­tant from our per­spec­tive is whether you’re a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor and crit­i­cal thinker, curi­ous, col­lab­o­ra­tive, pos­i­tive, enthu­si­as­tic and open to new oppor­tu­ni­ties. Those are the most crit­i­cal traits we’re look­ing for in poten­tial team mem­bers – every­thing else can be taught.”

Be curi­ous

Speak­ing of crit­i­cal traits…

Accord­ing to Forbes, curios­i­ty is one of the most over­looked lead­er­ship qual­i­ties in the work­place. Vice Pres­i­dent Bre­an­na Welke agrees, encour­ag­ing stu­dents to explore many options in their desired field, or even out­side of it!

“Don’t be afraid to try things that may fall out­side of what you think your ‘ide­al’ or expect­ed job should be. The more expe­ri­ence you can get in dif­fer­ent aspects of busi­ness or indus­tries, the bet­ter round­ed you will be in your future career,” she says.

“It builds your curios­i­ty and under­stand­ing of the big­ger busi­ness world and, as an extra bonus, try­ing dif­fer­ent things helps you learn very quick­ly what you like, and what you don’t—all of which will guide you on your career path.”

So, col­lege stu­dents – we see you, and we sup­port you. With strong con­nec­tions, open-mind­ed­ness, enthu­si­asm and curios­i­ty, you can land a job that ful­fills you while con­tin­u­ing to grow as a com­mu­ni­ca­tor. Our team looks for­ward to meet­ing emerg­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions grad­u­ates and admir­ing their con­tri­bu­tions to our ever-chang­ing and excit­ing field!

Leave a Reply