PR Students: Research before reaching out

Occasionally I receive e-mails from college students who are fans of my blog or have general PR questions. I feel I relate well with college students since I am only two years removed. Most e-mails are some form of the general question, “how can I position myself better to break into the industry?”

Like many PR pros, I enjoy helping out other pros and college students. I have even recently added guest posts to this site to provide additional resources for readers.

Unfortunately, I have noticed a trend among college students in PR – some simply don’t take the time to research before reaching out. I am not talking about typos (everyone makes a tpyo typo once in a while).  Here is what I am talking about.  I recently received this e-mail stating the following:

Dear Brian.

    Hello Mr. or Mrs Brian. My name is XXX and I’m currently enrolled at XXXXXX. I’m currently majoring in Public Relations under professor XXXXXX. We are writing a paper,and I’m wondering if could spare some time in answering a question for me? my question is this, what is the job outlook for the PR field in the next ten years? What job opportunities and growth of opportunities do you foresee in those ten year?

Sincerely,
XXXXXX
 

Where should I even begin? The fact that I’m a male, which I think anyone could tell from the “Who Am I?” page or the poor sentence structures (which I mind the least)  or the fact the student is asking me about the growth of the industry when he/she should be asking a practitioner with more experience  or a different professor (there are tons of Twitter).

I’m honored for the e-mails, but please take the time to know your subject before e-mailing them. You shouldn’t blind pitch a reporter so don’t blind e-mail a blogger just because of their Web site name.

For those of you who are wondering, I responded to the student with advice. I also told the person how he/she could have gone about the e-mail in a better way. Like I said, I’m always happy to help, but please do your research before reaching out.

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