With graduation season soon upon us, I’ve been talking with a lot of young professionals who are eager to break into PR. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, I was in their shoes as a soon-to-be graduate from Boston University’s College of Communications.
It goes without saying that our business has changed a lot since I graduated. It still makes me laugh when I think about faxing press releases and assembling binders upon binders of clip books!
In my conversations with aspiring PR professionals, they always ask me what advice I have for them. Here are a few lessons I learned in my career that I’ve passed on to others throughout the years.
- Become a consumer of the news. My first job required me to read four newspapers every morning and deliver a verbal briefing to my boss by 9:30 a.m. Today, I breeze through my Twitter feed instead of four newspapers, but the process instilled in me a strong discipline and love of reading the news. If you’re not doing so already, start reading the news daily. I guarantee this practice will make you a more thoughtful, informed and media relations-savvy PR person.
- Always Have an Opinion. Whether someone is asking you for your thoughts on a pitch or discussing how a client problem should be approached, feel empowered to share your opinion and perspective. You might have an idea or question that challenges conventional thinking. Or, you might be terribly wrong. So what? Someone with opinions is valued far more than someone who sits silently. Which brings me to…
- Speak Up. If there’s something you want to do or try or accomplish, speak up. Maybe it’s wanting to learn more about cause-related marketing campaigns or corporate social responsibility. Maybe you want to become the social media expert in your office. Whatever it is, you’re the one that is ultimately responsible for shaping your career.
- Hone Your Editing Skills. As any seasoned PR professional will tell you, writing is a life long skill that must be continually developed and honed. Knowing how to create compelling, concise and error-free written work will take you far. Find an approach to editing and proofreading that works for you now and stick to it.
- Network from the Start. The guy in the cube across the way? He will go on to do great things. So will your other peers. Keep in touch and help each other out whenever you can; you never know when your paths will cross again. Remember to get out of the office, attend industry events, have lunch with your colleagues and network. I promise only good things will come from it.