PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

21 Ways to Get Hired, Get Ahead and Enjoy Lifelong Success

On Thursday, I attended the 5th Annual Career Summit held by MSU Career Services. The theme of the event was “The Big Picture” and I can’t think of a theme more relevant for those about to begin their career. I talked about having this strategic approach in a recent post, yet the event added a lot to my ideas about what the big picture of my own career is.

The keynote was delivered by Kevin Donlin, an MSU alum who runs The Simple Job Search. He gave us some great tips on finding that job while offering a unique perspective on such priciples as networking and success.

Here are his tips broken up into three groups.

7 ways to get hired faster:

  1. Start with clarity. Figure out what job you want, the skill sets necessary for that position and your top employers.
  2. Stop networking – start helping other people get what they want.
  3. Employers are like children – write what they want you to read. In your cover letter, you should be talking about how you will help your potential employer. Heather Huhman, who was kind enough to give me feedback on my resume and cover letter, has some great tips about this here.
  4. No Experience? No problem! Let other people sell you. Use LinkedIn to get recommendations, but don’t ignore the importance of having a recommendation in print, too.
  5. Combine tactics to product synergy.
  6. Create your own board of directors for your job search. Use mentors and professionals within your network to helped you in your job search.
  7. Start working before you get hired by doing research on the company and offer suggestions and solutions in your interview.

7 ways to get ahead:

  1. Control the first hour and the rest of the day is easy. Kevin recommended not to read the news because it’s bad and out of our control. I disagree with this, probably because I’m a news junkie, but if your specific career doesn’t require this, try it out.
  2. Do it now! Put your ideas into action and get the job done.
  3. Make yourself indispensable. You can accomplish this by doing what others can’t do, doing what others won’t do and by doing more than is expected of you.
  4. Practice kaizen by constantly improving yourself and you work, especially through professional development.
  5. When at work… work. Don’t get distracted by Facebook or the refresh button on your e-mail.
  6. Document your results. Set goals that are measurable and track them. Also, keep a portfolio of your professional work demonstrating versatility and quality.
  7. Learn how to think by writing down things. Instead of just thinking in your head, Kevin recommended you write your thoughts down.

7 ways to enjoy lifelong success:

  1. Find a hero (Kevin’s term for a mentor). Every master was first a student and many are willing to help out the younger generation.
  2. There’s a benefit in every adversity – you just have to find it. With so many people losing their jobs, it’s easy to feel down in the dumps. But by unpacking your experience, you just might be able to get something out of it.
  3. Capture ideas in a journal. Or a blog.
  4. Adopt funnel vision by doing the work in the interview and treating cover letters as sales letters.
  5. Leave your comfort zone. Kevin said that all growth happens beyond it and all successful careers demand it.
  6. Become a lifelong learner. Read, go to grad school.. the opportunities to learn are endless.
  7. You can be a success now. Choose a worthy goal and start making progress today.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting presentation. It’s also pretty relevant to a wide variety of careers.

So, did Kevin miss anything? There are probably many more ways, but I found this to be a great set of principles.

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Filed under: Professional Development, , , , , , , , , ,

Being a Career Strategist

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard a trend from multiple recruiters and professionals concerning what they look for in a prospective employee. More than just having internships, demonstrating the right skill sets and showing a professional attitude, it’s important to remember the difference between strategy and tactics. In your own career, you can show employers that you are a strategist, which is more important than just contributing to the tactics.

So, what’s the difference between a career strategist and a career tactician? Here’s what a career tactician does in college and in their early career:

  • Makes a list of internships to complete
  • Plans their class schedule to fulfill all requirements
  • Has a portfolio full showing different things they can do
  • Goes on a study abroad to have international experience

Here’s what a career strategist would do in the same situations:

  • Keeps internship and career options open, but keeps in mind how it will help future roles
  • Takes classes that supplement their career interests, not just to get the credits done
  • The portfolio shows they were part of a campaign and contributed to the success of it
  • Studies abroad and is able to “unpack” and apply their international experiences

There are plenty more, but what it comes down to is being able to see the big picture of what you’re doing and why. If you are a strategist, you can answer why, when, what’s next, was it successful and what would you have done differently. It’s also important to remember that you can be a leader no matter what company or organization you are involved in.

plan1

I think it’s a good idea to take a top down approach to college vs. a bottom up approach. That is, keep in mind what you want to do upon graduation and then find the best things to fill in the gap of that goal and where you are now. If you want to go into PR, a good idea would be to have different internships that emphasize different things.

If you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate, you can still be a strategist. Your goal of what you want to do upon graduation will still require general skill sets that you can enhance with collegiate experiences. Personally, this is where I’m at. I know I want to do PR when I graduate, but where I want to work and with what kind of company… I’m not set in stone. I still know what I need to work on and improve, so I am still able to be strategic.

After you have created your top down plan, it’s a good idea to micromanage each step. When you earn those internships and leadership positions, don’t come in with a checklist of things you need to have. You should approach everything like a sponge – absorb as much information as possible and look at your projects from the big picture prospective. When you’re assigned to write a press release, you shouldn’t just do it. Ask why you’re writing the release and how it is important to the client. The Career Strategist blog has some great posts that talk more about preparing for a strategic career.

Seth Godin wrote a great post on the difference between strategy and tactics. He even says the right strategy can make any tactic work. So, when you’re planning your career, make sure that you know where you want to go and that you’re taking the right steps. Look at the big picture of what you want to accomplish in your early career that will propel you forward.

So, are you a strategist? Any tips or advice on how to become one?

Photo by soccergoalx on Flickr.

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, Public Relations, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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