Meet Payal Shukla, a student at the University of Illinois and an aspiring PR professional. During our first call I kept thinking to myself, ‘She is only asking the right questions.’ I’m excited to see what lies ahead in her PR career and honored she is sharing her thoughts here. Catch Payal tweeting as @payalshukla and learn more at her personal site.“What do you read?” My advisor asked me. “What do I… read?” I asked. Is this a trick question? I read… of course I read! I’m a collegiate, I thought. “I am curious to know,” he explained. “What sorts of things do public relations professionals read?” One week later I wound find the same question popping up in a blog post re-tweeted by Travis Kessel, a recruiter for Edelman-Chicago. “Real-life interview questions used at Edelman,” he wrote of a video featuring Senior Vice President Phil Gomes. Needless to say, the one question Gomes always is sure to ask: “What do you read?” Why is it important to read up on your field? Obviously, you now know it is something interviewers are likely to ask of you (if you didn’t know already). More importantly, reading books, news sites and blogs demonstrates a thorough understanding of PR. In other words, where did your field start, where is it now and where is it going? Not to mention that it is probably one of the easiest ways to begin developing a level of expertise that goes beyond just gaining experience! The lessons you can learn from autobiographies and memoirs can serve as guide to making the right career choices and breaking into public relations. I personally believe “reading PR” encourages critical thinking and personal reflection – both of which will only make you grow more as a professional. Materials and information you gather can be applied to your current professional endeavors. For example, by reading blog posts on building a social media platform, and engaging with authors for their tips, I was able to turn the lessons I learned into ideas I pitched to my supervisor. I got the best of both worlds – knowledge on an essential PR tool and a more fulfilling internship experience. Obviously, I can’t write about reading PR sources without mentioning a few of my favorites. My go-to blogs include PR Breakfast Club and the Bad Pitch Blog. Both are hilarious, insightful and interactive with their readerships. For to-the-minute news, I turn to Publicity News and PR Week US. As for books, I am currently working my way through Ronn Torossian’s list of “10 Must-Read Public Relations and Marketing Books.” My favorites so far include “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and “Crystallizing Public Opinion” by Edward L. Bernays. So to answer my advisor, “What do I read? Anything I can get my hands on.”
I’m thrilled to have Jason Mollica provide the VERY FIRST guest post on my blog. My first offer to guest post came from Jason and I felt it only fitting to do the same. We connected through a tweet, but I’ve grown to consider him a mentor in not only my career, but in life. In today’s contribution, Jason shares advice for how to handle setbacks during your journey to the top.
Graduation from college can be an exciting and stressful time. There are no more classes, but now you are prepared to take the next step. If you have a job, you have started on that “real world” path. But there are going to be bumps in the road, whether it is two weeks or two months from now. You need to focus your energies and create your own moment. Try these on for size. These are three things I try to do when I hit bumps in the road.
We get so immersed in wanting to get that next job or get that first job, we lose sight of the plan. Step away from the hunt for an hour or a day and clear your head. A healthy perspective on your hunt will help make you more focused and more positive.
Make an Opportunity
One of the more important aspects of a job search or even job improvement is seizing an opportunity. What may appear as an insignificant moment, may just be a chance to shine. Never pass up a chance to show what you’ve got. When it comes to the job hunt, follow a prospective employer on Twitter. You just never know when a Tweet could end up being a job.
The only way to succeed is if you see yourself on top. This doesn’t mean you have to be cocky, but being confident in your abilities goes a long way to how you carry yourself in personally and professionally. What is your plan? Do you even have one? If not, write down five objectives you would like to see yourself reach. Another good resource (if you are a PR minded person) is the Public Relations Society of America. They offer valuable webinars that can often assist you.
The late Herb Brooks once told his 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team that, “This is your time. Now take it!” Take what Coach Brooks said and make it happen.