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Lessons I Learned from the Real World of PR

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What can you really expect from the living the life of a public relations professional?

I gave a speech a few weeks ago to a room full of college students who happen to be PR hopefuls. A lot of the speech covered what I want to talk about here, but the main takeaway for me was how surprised I was by the comments afterward.

Go on…Lessons I Learned from the Real World of PR

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What if You Don’t Love What You Do?

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Have you ever had that realization that you hate your profession?

Go on…What if You Don’t Love What You Do?

5 Things You Must Do After College

Image courtesy of gcc.edu

Being a post-grad is one of the most exciting, yet trying, periods of time you will face as your education finally reaches its climax. I’m writing this in February, then, as a way to hopefully help get people thinking about this now, rather than later.

This is the time to prove yourself. Really, your 20’s are all about proving yourself. This is it! Your first step into the so-called real world you’ve heard so much about.

It’s only been 1 year since I began my post-grad journey, so I’ve compiled a list of things that will hopefully benefit you once you’ve finally finished your undergrad.

Keep in mind that some of these tips are more or less applicable depending on what you actually studied in school, with communications being my experience for writing this.

1. Learn How to Budget

Yes, you may already know how this works and have been doing a fine job through school. This tip isn’t for you. This is for the post-grads who didn’t work much during school and had their parents handle their finances.

It’s time to get it together. Learn how to do your taxes. Learn how to save money. Watch your parents do it. Figure out what you need to make and how much you can spend before you make other big decisions, like where you’re going to live and what kind of job you’re going to apply for.

It amazes me when people don’t know how much money they want to negotiate for a salary. How do you even have grounds for what salary is “necessary” when you have no idea how much money it will take for you to survive? Think about this now so you can be ready.

2. Plan for your Student Loans

Most of us have plenty of loans to pay for once we’re done with school, and this is something you absolutely cannot go into unplanned. You don’t have much time after school ends before the bills start coming in, so plan ahead. Find out how much you’re going to have to pay and apply for different payment plans if you need to early, so you don’t end up paying way more than you can afford.

3. Stay Busy

In other words, do part-time work. This may mean putting other things on hold, such as relationships and social activities. Why? This is a time of rough transition, and you need to be prepared for anything. As a new professional, you are the most susceptible employee to unexpected layoffs and pay-cuts.

Be prepared. Part-time work, especially related to your profession, helps supplement income and develop even more skills that you will need as your career advances. I highly recommend online tutoring. It’s flexible, pays pretty well, and is a great way to keep your mind active when you’re tempted to zone out on the weekend.

4. Avoid Commitments

I say this with a heavy heart, especially since many people I know get married and have kids shortly after college. That’s fine for them, but I don’t recommend it. This is mostly because you have no idea where your profession is going to take you, and making lifelong commitments with someone who may not align with your career creates intense problems.

Plus, most people just aren’t ready for that level of commitment during this time of transition. I highly recommend that you take a year or more to get settled into your new lifestyle and worry about family life later, when you are more ready for it. You will avoid a lot of problems if you do.

5. Develop a TON of Experience

This is especially important for those of you going for grad school. Education is a great asset to your resume, but don’t rely on it too much. Other people just as educated as you are applying for that same job down the road, only they probably have experience along with their education.

If you wait too long to develop experience through internships or part-time work related to your career, that makes your resume extremely unattractive to employers. This obviously doesn’t apply to every field of study, but it is mostly relevant for people in communications.

The bottom-line is: don’t get lazy or complacent. Once you’re done with school, plan for your future and be prepared for anything. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one thing, because you might get stuck with it for the rest of your life. Experiment. Have fun. Get your life off to a great start. Prove yourself.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

1 Skill You Must Have

Image Courtesy of The Guardian

Most skills we develop past college have to do with very tangible, observational traits. You get better at writing more effectively and transcribing large concepts into simpler concepts. Sharp criticism and experience enable you to have a more creative eye. Just being in a workplace and dealing with people 40 hours a week grooms you for management.

These skills are great, and you’ll find that they develop nicely over time. That said, there is also a skill that is a little trickier to cultivate.

Broad thinking.

In my industry, being able to identify every possible outcome of a situation is something I constantly call upon. It’s not just intuition, it’s knowledge and cohesive thinking. The ideal is that you are able to  constantly stay 10 steps ahead of everyone else, meaning you can solve almost any problem.

This skill is probably the most important asset you have if you want to reach the highest echelons of your industry. Why? For one thing, it prevents you from making needless mistakes. Also, being able to predict trends makes you desirable to your superiors.

How do you develop broad thinking? There are a lot of different ways depending on what you do for a living. For me, reading is your best friend. I digest a large amount of news each day. The benefit is that you gain a large perspective of the world and are able to think much more broadly than someone who is out of the loop.

Gaining insights is another great way to bolster your wisdom on any given subject. While you may not be able to memorize all of the information you’re bringing in, chances are higher that the stories and anecdotes you are appreciating will benefit you in the long-run.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

New Professionals: Know Your Greatest Asset

NSAC Ad Competition 2012

Being thrust into the “real world” of entry-level careers and highly competitive internships requires more than just a good CV and connections. It requires something more tangible than a work ethic, more effective than a bachelor’s degree, and more lasting than a good recommendation.

Yes, those things are essential, but they aren’t nearly as crucial as your greatest asset: your peers. Going it alone is basically career suicide for the new professional. I’ve seen it firsthand.

Since I graduated, I’ve been fortunate enough to have other new professionals as friends (the above picture is me with a few of them), constantly giving me a rubric to measure myself against. It’s cold, but life really is a competition. Evaluating the success of your peers and pushing yourself to achieve your own goals is how you really progress after college.

Take my word for it. The millennial generation has to be the laziest one yet. It’s not just that we don’t work as hard, we know that we’re not working as hard as we can. I hope we see that change soon, and I’ve personally found that nothing humbles you into pushing your life forward more than watching your friends succeed.

I was a wreck during my first job. I had no idea what I was doing and frequently had to receive counsel from my friends. I remember late-night phone calls about my fear of talking to high-level journalists at magazines like Forbes and HBR. My peers got me through that.

Later, when I had to cement what type of industry I would commit it, it was the success of my friends that motivated me to strive for more. While I have my own ambitions, it was still useful to see just how capable my friends and I are. If they can do it, I can do it.

Don’t go it alone. Don’t measure yourself against your shadow. Creating lasting relationships with your peers and constantly watch what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. That’s how the new professional can find real success.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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