Tuesday, 25 June 2013

4 Lessons from a PR Grad - The First Job

Quote About Chapter

I have not posted on this blog for quite some time as a result of the recent change in my life. As I mentioned in my post about student to professional transition  life can change fast. It hasn't been difficult, but it has been busy. Finally, I am taking time to sit down and talk about some of the most important things I have learned in my first two months as a Marketing & Communications Specialist. I want to share these with you so you know what lies beyond textbooks and laptops. It really brings my blog to a new beginning. Life as a PR Grad.

#1 Don't be Afraid of Marketing
Having done a business degree at Western University, I know a thing or two about Marketing. And when I went into PR I had no intention of including Marketing in my career plans. I imagined my job would revolve solely around Social Media, Media Relations and Writing. However, I quickly discovered that Marketing and PR work so well together that often times one person does both in an organization. Here I am doing Communications on a Marketing team. Doing both opens up your scope of work. If you like diversity in workdays, understanding consumers, strategizing about brands, and then Marketing is probably something you would enjoy as much as PR.

#2 Don't Pretend you Know, If you Don't
This lesson was easy for me, as one of the best ways I learn things is y asking questions. Sometimes asking the right question actually makes you look smarter than if you don't ask any questions at all. Not speaking up does not necessarily give employers confidence in your abilities. Ask smart questions to show you understand the process or the importance of your task. This has been one of the best ways I have made good impressions on my manager and team.

#3 Under Promise, Over Deliver
Saying you can get something done pronto, might sound like the best approach when impressing your manager. But sometimes when things are not pressing, you should under promise your delivery. This might seem counterintuitive when starting out, but it will save you trouble in the end. If you start right out the gate at full speed that will become the standard and you will always be expected to deliver quick and well. But if you sell yourself slightly short and then surpass what you said you would do, then you not only make it easier on yourself, but you look good. "Wow she did it in half the time she said it would take." Maybe you knew it would only take that long, but you deserve the time to make sure you are doing something well.

#4 Attitude is Everything
Nothing has been more obvious to me since starting working. A bad attitude is easily spotted and easily disliked. One of the easiest ways to jump into a PR team is to have a positive attitude. Maybe the work done before you isn't up to your ideals, but that doesn't mean you should be negative about it. Even when feeling overwhelmed (because some day you will), just put on a smile. You will be known for that smile. 

Book Quote

How do you plan on getting your first job? What lessons do you have to share?

P.S. I Love PR.

The Art of Asking Hard Questions

Achieving your goals comes from hard work. That is a truth and an obvious statement. So why bother mentioning it? It is because so often I see many of my peers who underestimate willpower and dedication. They forget that while sometimes good things come to those who wait, you also only get what you put out. 

Are you feeling underemployed, dissatisfied with your job or internship, or feeling stuck? Sometimes you may blame the job market or your situation. But quite often you need to assess your position and determine how hard are you willing to work to be truly happy? Because at the end of the day, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

Asking Quote

Kevin O’Leary talks about this in his book The Cold Hard Truth. In business you don’t get what you don’t ask for. There may be a great opportunity  waiting for you, but just sit there, dead silent, unmoving, and it will pass on to the person who does speak up. Maybe you feel entitled, but you sit quietly by. Entitlement is not as satisfying as perspiration. Maybe you are scared of failure. But that will only ever hold you back. It could be the risk asks too much. That could also means getting more in return.

Whatever the reason for your lack of success, you are probably thinking it is not for lack of being ambitious. But thinking about success is different than reaching out for it. And success looks different to each person and does not mean you reach the dream job from the start. It just means taking the first step that matters to you in your career.

I learned from a very early age from another great teacher – my mom. I don’t know how many times I would have concerns or questions about things and decisions in my life that I would confront with statements like:
  • “I really like x, but I don’t like y. But there is nothing I can do about it.”
  • “I wish I could do this. But oh well.”
  • “I guess that is just the way things are.”
And without fail my mom would remind me that confronting difficulties, problems or negativity often involves asking something of someone. And that can be a scary thing. For example, you might think asking to work different hours is something you cannot do, because you are afraid of no. But my mom would always say to me “When you ask, the worst that can happen is you get a no.”

I only had to hear this 1000 more times before I internalized it. Now I use it all the time. Every time I want something or need something to change, I am less afraid to ask for what I think is fair. That is because if you do it strategically and be honest, the worst that can happen is they say no.

People can’t read minds. No one goes around giving you what you want. But maybe, if you speak up and ask, you can achieve something and reach that goal you have been reaching for. But you will never know if you don’t ask.

How do you feel about difficult questions? What was the hardest thing you had to ask for?

P.S. I love PR