Grady Alum Serve as Panelists for PRSSA Meeting and Offer Valuable Tips and Advice 

By: Raynor Manley

This meeting was a panel featuring recent alumni sharing insights and advice on their job and internship application processes. 

The panel featured Anna Alyssa McKoy from Edelman, Samuel Peraza from Delta Air Lines and Hayden Shelton from Cox Communications.

Unfortunately, Will Salter from Sift Creative was unable to attend at the last minute due to something that popped up at work. We missed having him, but we know he is super busy doing great things!

Samuel Peraza currently works as a Corporate Communications Coordinator for Delta Air Lines. Anna Alyssa McKoy is working as an Account Executive for Edelman in New York, and Hayden Shelton is working as a Project Management Specialist for Cox Communications. 

Each of these panelists were super involved during their time in Grady College. Each panelist was involved in PRSSA during their time in Grady as well. McKoy served as an executive board member, Director of Member Relations, and Shelton served on the event planning committee. Peraza said PRSSA led him to his path now and launched his career, because PRSSA helped with networking and prepared him for his future. McKoy said connections have been the biggest and most important thing in her career, and without being a member of PRSSA and the connections and wonderful people she met, she wouldn’t have gotten to where she is now. 

McKoy recommended getting as involved as possible to make the biggest impact on your future. Each panelist also recommended trying out different types of internships to see what you like.  They recommend doing what interests you but to also keep an open mind. Just because an internship wasn’t necessarily your first choice doesn’t mean it won’t end up being an amazing and enriching experience. Peraza said, “Just because you don’t get your top choice doesn’t mean you’re not worthy.” He encouraged us to remember that a lot goes into getting an internship, and you could do everything right, but most of the time it’s out of your control and you won’t get every internship. The most success doesn’t come from how big or good your internship is, it comes from the quality. 

Our panelists encouraged practicing and preparing for interviews as much as possible. They encouraged us to tailor our resumes and cover letters to each job we are applying to. Add personality to your cover letter, so the company gets to know you on a more personal level. Have your peers read over it, take it to an advisor, add a personal touch and do what you can to make yourself stand out. Companies want to see that you are intentional, want to work for them and their company and care about their values. Before each interview you should research the company, what they do, their values and integrate this into your resume and cover letter. Practicing interviewing beforehand will make you more confident even if it feels silly. Be prepared for the difficult questions but remember to not over-prep so you aren’t too nervous.

Shelton said she chose her current company because during her interviews she felt like she really clicked with everyone there. She could tell they were really family valued and oriented, and this was one quality that was really important to her when choosing a job. 

McKoy advised being patient with yourself, especially post-grad. When seeking a full-time job, post internship, she recommended going above and beyond and to always listen and help others as much as you can. She also recommended having a positive attitude because it can go a long way. She also explained that you should always advocate for yourself and find your voice and confidence. Peraza recommended setting expectations with your employers so you can make a backup plan. He said you should be open and honest at the beginning, so you know what opportunities look like after an internship. 

When considering a paid vs unpaid internship, the panelists said it depends on what you want out of it. Unpaid internships are great when you are seeking experience and to learn more, but when you already have training and experience it’s not as great. They said there is always an opportunity to advocate for yourself and the skills and experience you have.

Peraza also said the best you can do is work as hard as you can. Your direction is the right direction and any path you choose to go down will be a great one. We loved having these panelists and learned so much from them. Their advice was so valuable, and we know it will serve us well in the future. We hope you enjoyed this panel, and we will see you on October 19th for our ADPR Connection Prep meeting!