Throughout your time in college, you may try to grab every opportunity you can to build your resume with experience in hopes that you will be able to obtain your dream job. Sometimes, these job/internship opportunities don’t always pan out – too little work, too much work, or nothing relevant or substantial.
As a public relations and advertising student, finding work experience that helps you build skills and create tangible portfolio pieces is imperative, but sometimes hard to come by. My recommendation – student-run organizations. Having Gen Z students as my superiors and colleagues has taught me newfound independence and advanced my creativity and love for this industry. Read on to learn about the opportunities and perks of working at a student-run advertising and public relations agency.
Finding the perfect internship can be difficult. Sometimes it’s hard for older generations, your bosses and colleagues, to trust that you are qualified to do specific tasks. Sometimes, these older generations are quick to believe that Gen Z individuals are lazy and unmotivated, leading to less support and workplace opportunities.
When working in a student-run agency with other GenZers, there are endless opportunities to become more independent. Within the agency, each member has a specific job title. Although these positions have particular job requirements, you can add creativity and personality to everything you create. You are encouraged to step outside the realm of your job requirements. You can help with any current projects and pitch new ideas to make your student agency the best it can be.
When working in this environment, no one is holding your hand. In an outside creative agency internship, your job requirements may not be much work, and you may never get the chance to voice your ideas. In a student-run environment, you have to hold yourself accountable, meet all the deadlines and are expected to contribute new and helpful ideas to your team and agency.
One of the best perks of working with Gen Z colleagues at a student agency is how quick communication happens internally and externally with clients. One Gen Z characteristic is that this generation is very digitally savvy. This allows for communication to happen instantly, leading to a proactive and driven work environment. Peers waste no time when it comes to proof-reading each other's work or sending off new ideas to clients.
Surrounded by Like-Minded Individuals
When working for student-run agencies, another distinct feature is being surrounded by driven and like-minded individuals. Students are busy people with academic, social, and extracurricular obligations. When adding a time-consuming job as another responsibility, students must be predominantly driven and have excellent time management skills.
Working in an environment with other driven, creative, and eager individuals will help you become the best version of yourself. I have seen myself grow into a new and better person through constant support and constructive criticism from my agency peers. Students are always working their hardest to prove to themselves and future employers that they are capable and ready to work on client teams in the “real world.”
Real Positions, Real Clients.
Something unique when working at a student-run agency is holding real agency positions or even serving as President of the agency. During internships, your job may be minor, and you mostly do shadowing. You may see how campaigns come to life but may not be as involved with everything behind the scenes, such as editing, brainstorming, and client communication.
Student-run agencies allow you to hold positions and have job titles that advertising agencies in the real world would provide. You communicate directly with clients to present campaigns and ideas created by your team. This allows your professional presentation and verbal communication skills to grow immensely and prepare you for a job after college.
Along with holding real agency positions, you have the unique ability to work with paying clients. Unlike academic work that may be for a fictitious client, you work directly with real companies. This is a unique opportunity to learn how difficult or easy it can be working with clients, hearing their feedback, and altering your work to fit the clients’ needs.
Opportunities to See Your Ideas Come to Life
The most rewarding element of working for a student-run agency is seeing your campaign and deliverables used by your client. The logo designs that your team created may be featured in a magazine, or the copy you write might be posted on the client’s website. As a college student, employers find that having tangible work and experience is very impressive.
Lastly, working for a student-run agency can be hard work, but the rewards are always worth it. You build friendships and a motivated and driven support system that pushes you to be your best while holding you accountable. Gaining agency experience before entering the workforce is impressive because it allows you to be a more competitive applicant when searching for jobs and makes your transition into the real world a lot easier.
Francesca Lopinto is a Strategic Communication student with a Film and Media Studies minor at Texas Christian University. Francesca is the social media manager at Roxo, TCU's student run advertising and public relations agency.