My big break was a combination of the PRSA network (what my professors said about the link between students and professionals really worked), determination, and a nice bit of luck.
As a senior at Brigham Young University, I knew I wanted to work at a New York PR agency, but I wasn't sure how to make it happen. A professor of mine, Dr. Laurie Wilson, advised me to call her PRSA colleague Kathy Lewton, a partner and SVP at Fleishman-Hillard. She warned me that Kathy, with her PRSA leadership role and client travel, would be hard to reach.
I sent several resumes and letters, but by the time I arrived in New York to interview, I hadn't heard back. On one of my last days in the city, I tried one last time. I called Kathy, and was amazed when she answered.
It turned out my resume hadn't reached her, and she said, "If you're one of Laurie's students, we want to see you. Can you get me your resume right away?"
By the time I returned from a nearby copy center, I had a call from the Fleishman recruiter, asking me to come in the next day to interview. Three weeks later, I got an offer, which I accepted.