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ExPRessions :: College :: Top 15 Gifts for New College Grads in Public Relations

With impending graduation, I wanted to share my list of the top gifts to buy new college grads who are going into public relations or marketing communications. These are just my suggestions, but I’d love to see yours in the comments section.


  1. The Art of Client Service
  2. Pitch Like a Girl (useful for both girls and guys)
  3. The New Rules of Marketing and PR
  4. For Girls: The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide
  5. PR Week subscription

Professional Life Items

  1. Samsonite Travel Dual Voltage Garment Steamer
  2. Mini Travel Lint Rollers (even if you don’t have pets!)
  3. PRSA Membership
  4. Padfolio
  5. Post-it® Notes (simple, but useful in so many ways)


  1. Adobe Creative Suite 4 (be sure to purchase while you can still get the more affordable student edition!)
  2. Flip Cam
  3. E-Reader, like the Kindle
  4. Wireless Presenter
  5. Bluetooth Headset

Reader Additions

  1. AP Stylebook (or the online subscription) – suggested by Raquel Gonzalez
  2. iPhone (or other smartphone) – suggested by Mikinzie Stuart
  3. Starbucks gift card to “allow a student to build meaningful relationships over coffee with at least 10 experienced professionals” – suggested by Mike Pilarz
  4. Gift card for a domain registration and hosting company and a Thesis license for bloggers – suggested by Mike Pilarz
  5. Books: The Elements of Style and Talent Is Overrated – suggested by Mike Pilarz

What’s on your gift list as a soon-to-be college grad, or what did you realize you needed after you graduated?


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  2. Rachel,

    This is a great list. I wish I would’ve taken advantage of the discount on the Adobe Suite before graduation. Luckily, I was able to get it through the university I’m doing public relations for now. I’ve been in the workforce for about a year now and I’m interested in reading both Pitch Like a Girl and The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide. Which do you suggest I read first?


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  4. Jazmine,

    First, I love how your name is spelled!

    It’s a tough call on which book to read first. If you want great advice overall about propelling your career, read the Go-Getter Girl’s Guide first. But, if you want to read people better and be able to adjust your style to work with them (and get what you want), then read Pitch Like a Girl. I am still working on finishing Pitch Like a Girl, actually.

    You also might be interested in reading Basic Black – http://ow.ly/1sRAk – It relates more to the publishing industry, but it still has fantastic career advice. I also enjoyed Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist. I didn’t agree with everything, but it still is a great read.

    I’m a book addict, as you might be able to tell :-)

  5. Thanks Rachel! My mother got creative with the spelling of my name. I enjoy reading too! Especially books related to our fantastic profession. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on which books I’m reading. Your blog is amazing!

  6. Nice list, Rachel. Just for fun, I’ll throw out two substitutions:

    – I might swap the PRSA membership with Starbucks gift card of the same value, $115. That should allow a student to build meaningful relationships over coffee with at least 10 experienced professionals (of course, only after building up rapport with said professionals on LinkedIn, Twitter, or perhaps – and this is old school – in real life.) No disrespect to the mother organization but for me, I’ve found way more value in one-on-one meetings like this. You can always attend cherry pick the PRSA events and attend the ones best suited to you. Plus, there are plenty of free or more affordable PR or general business networking events for young people in any major city. In Chicago, we have Young Professionals of Chicago, which led me to my core network of PR friends right after college. And for the social media nerds like you, there’s always Social Media Breakfast, also in just about every major city, including Chicago (http://www.twitter.com/smbchicago). Yup, just plugged my own event. Oops.

    – Unless you’re really passionate about a career involving design, I also might skip the Adobe package and give a new grad a gift card for a domain registration and hosting company. Even if they don’t start a blog, they should probably own theirname.com, in case they’d like to do something with it later in life. And I might even throw in a Thesis license, too. But those are expensive, so they’d have to promise to actually blog.

    And 2 extra books:

    – “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. Yep, the same E.B. White who wrote “Charlotte’s Web.” He’s brilliant, and the book is the final word on words. I keep it by my desk at all times.

    – “Talent is Overrated,” by Geoff Colvin. Case study after case study proving that mom and dad were right when they said, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

    All the best to you upon graduation!


  7. Awesome additions, Mike! I never thought of a Starbucks gift card for networking purposes. Thanks!

  8. Love this list! When I graduated last May, one of the best PR/communication-related gifts I received was a Banana Republic gift card to purchase a new suit. Obviously, the store itself doesn’t matter so much, but it’s always great to be able to add to the professional wardrobe!

  9. That’s awesome. Banana Republic has nice stuff too, so a gift card to a high-quality store is a great idea!

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Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.