By Allie Mobley, Project Specialist
In December 2019, I graduated from the University of Tennessee. While my college degree was essential while I was on the job hunt for a job in public relations, I was even more thankful for one lesson I learned early on in my college career: Connections, networking and internships are a lifesaver, especially during a pandemic.
During my junior year of college, one of my professors connected me with Cortney Piper and Allie Eskew for an internship opportunity at Piper Communications. I had previous internship experience but nothing related to what I really wanted to do: public relations. After two rounds of interviews, Cortney called to tell me I would be working 15 hours a week at Piper Communications to assist with social media and email marketing. A part-time gig running social media channels and building out MailChimp emails might not sound extremely glamorous, but for me — a 20-year-old who got my first “big girl job” all on my own — I was ecstatic. In the few months I interned at Piper Communications, my education from the classroom really came to life and I loved it.
A few months later, I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at an advertising agency in New York City and Cortney was my biggest supporter. I left Piper Communications on great terms and planned to stay in contact, which is exactly what I did.
Staying in contact with previous employers from past internships is a critical part of the networking process that many college graduates miss out on. If you worked with someone who taught you a lot and truly wants you to succeed, never lose contact. You never know what more they can teach you or if you may need their help down the line.
Fast forward to summer 2020 — right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. I had just graduated college and lost an opportunity to move to New York City because of the impacts of COVID-19. I was lost and frustrated, but knew I needed to figure out a new plan. I reached out to Cortney to see if she knew of any public relation firms looking to hire recent graduates. She sent me over a few contacts, but suggested I come back to Piper Communications instead — an offer I couldn’t say no to.
I have now been at Piper for about 9 months as a Project Specialist and can say I am so happy how the past year has turned out. Sure, there have been plenty of unknowns: I graduated, moved to a new city, and started a new job. Essentially, my entire post-graduation plan changed. But I am so thankful that I had people like the Piper Communications team in my network to reach out to. During the last year, I have been able to work on projects and with clients that I could never do at an entry-level job anywhere else.
I’m now a believer that internship and networking in college is incredibly important, along with staying in touch after you move on to new opportunities. After all, you never know when you may need a helping hand from a mentor to help land you an incredible job during a pandemic.
Find out more about Allie Mobley, Piper Communications’ Project Specialist, here.