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Every year I bring PR students to visit NYC firms and in-house corporate communication departments. I’ve culled insider advice and insights from these meetings, taken from senior executives at award-winning public relations firms and corporations.
Advice for Young Professionals:
1. Strong writing skills are still essential, especially in the social media era. The ability to write in clear, concise and brand specific styles is critical. Hone your skills by blogging, journal writing and reading a variety of media. 2. Seek out criticism before it comes to you and learn from mistakes. Don’t get defensive or emotional when given less-than positive feedback. Entitled attitudes need not apply. Be willing, be humble and complete even mundane administrative tasks with a positive attitude.
3. Take initiative. Some of the best ideas come from young professionals. Don’t be afraid to voice your ideas and opinions. Show your passion for your work and think creatively and strategically about every project you tackle. Being passive in your early career will hold you back.
4. Versality is an asset. Your career may not take the traditional path you imagine. Don’t be afraid to take a job that is out of your comfort area. Some of the best experiences are those which you did not anticipate. All knowledge you gain is transferable to alternate industry sectors and areas.
5. Build a professional network. Consider every point of contact you make as an addition to your professional pool of contacts. Cultivate relationships and never be afraid to approach someone you don’t know. This tenacity will benefit you throughout your personal and professional career. Click here to see my easy networking tips.
6. Find a mentor. Identify someone at work on in your personal life who you respect and trust. Role play with them (interview, pitching, presentation preparation), ask them for their honest suggestions about your strengths and weaknesses. Challenge them to tell you when you are wrong.
7. You may not have a designer clothing budget, but you should always dress as if you are going to meet a client or a media professional. Avoid revealing or sloppy clothing and err on the conservative side. Loud make up or jewelry is distracting. Your presentation of yourself matters. Strive to be remembered and respected for your brains and confidence, not your appearance.