Leverage your connections
Liana Berke graduated from the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) in June 2015 with a degree in public relations. She is currently an assistant account executive at Edelman in San Francisco.
Liana was initially drawn to the versitility of the PR major. Experience building a brand’s image, facilitating communication, and working on “cool and creative campaigns” solidified her interest. She credits PR instructor John Mitchell as a significant influence during her time in the SOJC. “He taught me how important it is to develop a voice and make sure that it shines through in all of your work.” He also taught her to have fun and to be creative in her work.
Internships also played a large role in teaching her about the PR industry. Of her three internships, she says the most influential was the Portland Senior Experience. Although she was still a student, she treated the internship as her first real corporate job and believes it prepared her for her current position.
She says, “Interning during college is critical in order to ease the job search after graduation. You learn such invaluable skills that cannot be taught in a classroom, which really stand out on a resume.”
Liana also attests it’s a great way to build one’s professional network. After graduation, she travelled for a short time and then worked on finding a job. When her online job-hunting attempts didn’t pan out, she started conducting informational interviews with anyone she could. She conscientiously worked on buidling her network by connecting with as many people as possible, including previous internship colleagues, UO alumni, and family connections. Through building solid relationships in her network, she was able to find her current position, first as an intern and then as a full-time employee.
As an assistant account executive, Liana’s duties vary from day-to-day. She may draft social media content, create messaging materials, research competitors, pitch media, plan events, or develop press releases. Her day is based on whatever is going on at the moment, and she loves it. She says, “I am constantly inspired by my coworkers…they are accomplishing amazing things, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
Liana’s advice to future graduates is based on her own experience. “Leverage your connections. Reach out to recent alumni or a friend of a friend, even if it’s just to chat and learn more about what they do. You never know what kinds of opportunities may come out of it. More often than not, people are willing to help because they remember what it was like when they were in your position (especially if they are a fellow duck)!”