Today marks the one-month anniversary of my college graduation. Though I learned a lot in those four years, I’ve learned so much more in just this past month. Why? Ever heard of the phrase “Get thrown in the pool without your floaties?” I traded in my “floaties” on graduation day. If you’re ready to give up your floaties, take a look at the five things I’ve learned since starting my career in public relations.
1. ####You have to start somewhere
After beginning the tireless job search, I realized that most entry-level jobs require at least one year of experience “in public relations or a related field.” The reality is, most jobs in this industry require a post-graduate internship as a foot-in-the-door to the company. This trial period will allow the employer and employee a chance to test the waters and see if it’s a good fit. Though the title of “intern” doesn’t sound so glamorous, especially with a shiny new degree under your belt, any experience is good experience and will make you more valuable to future employers.
2. ####THE CLASSROOM WON’T TEACH YOU EVERYTHING
No matter how much money you spend on tuition, the lessons you learn on the job are priceless. It may sound cliché, but experience truly cannot be taught. Sure, learning how to write a news release in class may come in handy, but writing for actual clients is much different. When it comes to “real world” deliverables, use the skills you learned in the classroom as a starting point and learn more from your co-workers to create the final product. And just like in the classroom, never be afraid to ask questions!
3. ####IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL
It didn’t take long to realize that the PR world is a small one. It seems like everyone knows everyone, no matter what city you’re in. For this reason, it’s important to network, network, network – especially if you’re looking to advance your career in the future. Despite being an outgoing person, networking can often feel awkward or uncomfortable. With a little practice and an open mind, networking can do a lot for your career and professional development. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. So get out there and start connecting with others!
4. ####ORGANIZATION IS KEY
I’m thankful for inheriting my mother’s need for organization because it’s definitely a necessary skill in this field, particularly in the agency world. With my planner, notebook and office calendar in hand, I never forget a deadline or meeting. And get used to recording your work every minute of the day. Though tracking every 15 minutes of your workday may seem tedious, it’s a necessity to make sure you don’t bill a client the wrong amount for your hard work.
5. ####ALWAYS BE CURIOUS
Throughout my college years, I attended several conferences and other networking events on behalf of PRSSA. When speakers would offer up their best advice for future professionals, at least one would say “always be curious about the world around you.” If you are unaware of what’s going on in the world, especially in the communications field, you are quickly going to fall behind. By simply setting Google alerts or subscribing to an industry news publication (like PR Daily or Advertising Age), you can contribute valuable information to your current and future clients.
What advice would you give to someone about to enter the “real world”? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter via @IntrinzicSays.