Saturday, November 24, 2012

Your Career and You: “’Tis the Season…for Action”


I’ve noticed a “trend” these past few years that I’ve been teaching…that of some…not all, mind you…some…of my students putting their brains on cruise-control in mid-November and not re-emerging into reality until mid-January.

Need a spring internship? “I’ll look during the holiday break and hopefully find ‘something.’”

Need a recommendation for an internship or job? “I’m sorry to bother you this (Sunday) evening, but could you write a letter of recommendation for me…oh, and they need it tomorrow morning.”

Sadly, these are all real-life examples not only that I have run into at Curry College, where I teach most of the Communication Department’s Public Relations Concentration courses, but that my colleagues at other schools have experienced as well.

I realize that college is considered by many to be a “transitional period” between high school (youth) and working life (adulthood) and, therefore, deserving of good times.

Fortunately, though, there are enough others (hence the some up above) who recognize the seriousness of this time in life and dive headlong into the “maturing” process…and have fun along the way as well!

These are the ones who I champion and shepherd carefully along the way.

My belief is that these young men and women will go out, heads held proudly high, and get those entry-level positions that will put them solidly on the road to success.

The others? Well….

This time of season (mid-November until mid-January) is a great time to take stock of your assets - resume…work/internship experience…network of contacts - and start fine-tuning each.

Things change. Priorities shift. Does your resume reflect those changes?

Even at this point in my sketchy career, I re-visit my resume regularly to see if what it says about my previous life as a public relations professional and my current life as a public relations professor still “sounds” like me.

The same holds true for work and/or internship experience…does your resume show you at your best?

I always remember the young fellow who asked a human resources colleague and me if his summer job as a waiter in a restaurant back home should be listed on his resume.

We simultaneously asked him, “How long have you been doing this job?”

His response: “Five years.”

Us: “Yes! You’re demonstrating longevity. You’ve been developing customer service skills, relationship skills…all the things that go into the making of a public relations professional!”

Networking…I’m gearing up for the PRSA Boston/Publicity Club of New England “Holiday Party” in a couple of weeks. I always look forward to this event…no agenda…just an evening of camaraderie…and networking, and I’ll walk away with at least a half-dozen new contacts that I can turn to for possible internship opportunities…or jobs…for my students.

Start today…reach out to someone…a professional who you’ve met either as a speaker in one of your classes or at a professional meeting (or on the golf course, as did one of my students a few years back when he was working as a caddy)…and send him or her an email expressing your appreciation for the advice he or she shared.

It’s a small gesture that can pay big dividends by starting a relationship. There’s no guarantee that anything will come of your effort, but you never know until you try!

The main thing is to take positive steps so that you will be prepared for the inevitable event…graduation and…gasp!...”real” life! Take action…today!

"I will not steep my speech in lies; the test of any man lies in action."
Pindar, "Olympian Odes," IV, l. 27

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