PR speaker gives advice to future professionals

Ian Gillan

Kent State’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s weekly meeting featured the Publicity Manager for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Emily Benedict, who spoke about her transition from English major to public relations professional on Wednesday night.

Benedict aspired to be a journalist while she was an English major at State University of New York at Geneseo. But she quickly realized the profession wasn’t for her.

Benedict did emphasize to students that writing was one the best skills to have in the PR field.

“If you can write, then you can get any job in PR … and you will be heads and tails above anyone you interview against,” said Benedict, who made sure to say that was advice for any discipline of PR, not just entertainment.

She also told the audience to be open to different career paths and to not pigeonhole themselves at a young age. She said she didn’t know she wanted to do PR while in college ,and didn’t commit to getting a degree in PR until after she finished her undergrad and started graduate school at the University of Southern California.

Graduate school, said Benedict, was one of her biggest challenges to date. She said this was mostly due to a combination of time and pride.

Getting the degree took two years and those were two years she took off from her career. The bigger obstacle in her mind was working alongside younger people.

After being out of school and working for six years, she felt like she was playing catch up to the other interns she was working with who were doing the same thing she was, but earlier in their academic career.

As advice to current students, Benedict said to take advantage of networking. Her entire resume, she said, was made up of jobs other people had told her about. She also said to make sure you stand out when you apply, as one small difference from other applicants could be what gets you the job.

“One spark of research or interest is all it takes for me to give an applicant an internship,” Benedict said, while explaining her thought process for accepting intern applications.

Contact Ian Gillan at [email protected]