Mentoring IPRS Murdoch Student Chapter

Voices of the next generation of communications leaders

By Accredited Member Christina Celestine

I recently had the privilege of mentoring a group of communications students from Murdoch University as part of the IPRS Student Chapter outreach program. My goal was to motivate and help students in their career pathways, and this opportunity enabled me to give back to the community and profession. In my introductory session, the students sought advice by voicing their concerns about the workforce and I shared my career progression journey in communications.   

Learning lessons in the workplace

Some students asked what I would have done differently 20 years ago, and I shared that I would have struck a balance between driving impactful workplace results versus building a professional brand for myself. While it was important to demonstrate that I was results oriented, creating recognition for the person behind the successful work, campaigns and activities was equally important.

Students also voiced their concerns about having relevant experience as a prerequisite when applying for a role. This seemed to be a common occurrence, and to this end I stressed the importance of volunteerism and proactively taking up internships to demonstrate self-determination. This way, the recruiter can focus on an individual’s soft skills since hard skills can eventually be earned when fulfilling responsibilities on the job.

We also tabled the importance of finding oneself throughout their careers. To this end, I shared a personal story about how much of an introvert I was when I started in this line. As I progressed in my career, I gained more self-confidence after having to improve my presentation and public speaking skills as part of my job. Consequently, I acknowledged that to continue growing, I had to step out of my comfort zone and learn to display some extroverted tendencies, and the key is to keep challenging yourself.

Transforming into your own brand

In our second session, I focused on building one’s personal brand. I shared some do’s and don’ts, how to go about doing it and some relevant resources to get started. We discussed how this would supplement one’s career, especially as an ongoing reflection and a reminder to help achieve set goals and targets from a professional and personal standpoint.

Finally, your personal brand can transform over the years. Looking ahead, I delved into several aspects that influences this – the job you land, the impact you bring, the opportunities that come your way, and sometimes life’s journey itself. With maturity, it was important for them recognize that their personal brand can evolve as they achieve different milestones overtime.

It’s essential to invest in your personal brand. As Steve Forbes once said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”

With that, I wish every student the best of luck in their communications journey – it is pivotal to start preparing for your future career as early as possible, so keep those internship and job applications going and start looking for opportunities even before you graduate.

I look forward to my next mentorship chapter through IPRS!