Graduation Proclamation: 5 Things Every PR Grad Should Understand

Ahhh….late-Spring-early-Summer: that special time of year that has everyone feeling “like totally over” their allergies yet not quite ready for the near nakedness and sheer sweatiness of swimsuit season. Oh the joy.

This time of year is dedicated to longwinded inspiring graduation speeches, drunken late-night fêtes, and perhaps – most notably – the sinking feeling that elicits thoughts that may go a little like this:

“What-the-eff-did-I-just-learn-in-the-last-four-years-or-was-it-five-and-holy-schmoly-I-think-I-owe-someone-maybe-a-bank-maybe-the-government-maybe-a-Nigerian-prince-20-thousand-big-ones-that-I-can’t-pay-for-with-my-job-at-Starbucks. But-at-least-I-have-health-insurance-and-my-mom’s-couch-is-looking-pretty-darn-good.”

Sound familiar? Ok, well for those of you living in reality and not in complete denial of the stressors that tend to ensue after the post-graduation hangover elation wears off, I’m gonna kick it to ya on the reals: You will find a job. It’s true.

I’m not speaking to you as an economist (FYI they are wrong 50% of the time anyway) an analyst (yep, same issue…50%, it’s a fact) or a weather-woman (not really relevant but they seem to have the same horrible statistics), but rather as a Communications Pro who has built a thriving business in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Or at least according to that bald guy with a beard.

So what does that have to do with you….a mere graduate? Well, it has everything to do with you because you are literally standing on a pile of “golden opportunity.” Here’s why:

1. You Add Value: Think all that late night Facebooking, constant Tweeting, non-stop texting, and obsession with trending topics was a waste of time? Think again. If you understand social media at it’s core, know how to build followings and engage fans, and don’t mind formulating an intelligent opinion, an agency will recognize this as added value. As of this moment in history digital reach is a very, if not the most, important piece of the Communications puzzle.

2. You Are Flexible Yet Efficient: Youth is an advantage because of its malleable quality. If you mastered time-management skills in college and were an efficient organizer of your oft-scattered schedule, you can apply those skills to the highly dynamic and ever-changing world of PR.  This adaptability combined with today’s millennial attitude of “mobile me” surely has its place.

3. You Are Responsive: To me, there is nothing worse than working with an outdated colleague (or industry for that matter) who refuses to accept the reality of our digital, technology-bound, work environment. Because of your tech-savvy generational gifts, your “wired” mentality is a huge, fat plus for an industry that requires responsiveness. Oh, and word to the wise: Response equals Respect people! Don’t wait for 2 hours to respond to that email…I know it came to your smartphone, and I DM’d you about it too.

4. Your Enthusiasm Is Inspiring:  When you get to be my age (because I live in L.A. being in my 30’s makes me feel super duper old, so I often say old people sounding things like “when you get to be my age…”), and you’ve endured some of life’s heartbreaks challenges, you tend to lose sight of all of the amazing, inspiring, changing-for-the-good happenings around you.  Bringing a positive attitude (bonus trait: sense of humor) into a working environment is one of the reasons the “big guns” will want you around.

5. You are cheap: Ok so this is one of the moments where my directness can be misread as a little bit inappropriate, but this is 100% the absolute truth: you DO have an advantage over that “seasoned” PR manager who is not #1-#4 above but still demands nearly six figures. You’ll work hard; keep late hours, and all for under 40k a year.  So if you’re willing to jump in head first, you have a distinct advantage here – and may even have the opportunity to grow with a smaller, yet up and coming, agency.  Total. And utter. Bonus

The truth is, you have everything you need to land a stellar PR job – you just have to work hard, stay focused, and not buy in to all the negativity circling around the media stratosphere.  And always remember: the greatest opportunities lie just beneath the shadows of life’s greatest challenges.

About the Author

Rebekah Iliff is an organizational management, development, and communications professional who has served clients across multiple industries and across the globe for over eight years. She is an effective communicator, team builder, and creative problem solver who has worked with over 100 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, technology brands, healthcare companies, financial advisors, entertainment leaders, and small business owners over the past several years. Contact her on Twitter via @ttcrebekah.

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6 comments on “Graduation Proclamation: 5 Things Every PR Grad Should Understand

  1. This was a great article and definitely makes me feel better about landing a PR job soon. It seems like everything I apply for requires 6+ years of experience, how can I even get involved in an industry I can’t get an entry level position in? Ugh! Well this gave me hope so thank you!

  2. Hello folks! I’m so glad this was “inspiring” for you all on this lovely morning. Keep at it, this is an evolving industry….with the explosion of mobile, every brand will need mega help managing their reputations in every digital environment imaginable – and this requires astute PR pros who are not only social media savvy but understand the implications of information moving at warp speed. This requires communications and management. Period. -Rebekah

  3. Pingback: There Are Benefits to Staying at the Same PR Agency and Not Jumping Ship « PR at Sunrise

  4. Pingback: 5 Tips on How to Manage Up in the Workplace | PR at Sunrise

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