I went to the University of Tennessee’s PR Day. They had a number of experienced professionals that were from every job including the music industry, the public school system, and even the air force representing their public relations skills for the panels and round tables.
The most important thing that I learned from the panel was to learn your limitations. Within the first six months of any internship, you will want to take every opportunity. Saying “yes” to longer days, coming in earlier, working on additional projects, and proving your threshold. However, after a certain amount of time you will discover what your boundaries are with how much work you can handle. You then can start saying “no” to additional activities and become more scheduled and accustomed to the job. I applied this to not only my professional life, but my personal life as well. Sometimes life tends to throw you more hurdles than you can handle, with volunteer work, family, relationships, friends, school, and then your work to help you through school… This advice was essential information for me to start recognizing that it is okay to have a threshold and to set those limits.
In addition, these are key principles to any PR Professional:
- When writing or speaking, follow these ABC’s: accuracy, brevity, and clarity.
- Always have a mentor. When stuck, mentors can help guide you to get jobs and connections, and can be someone you can guide or look up to.
- Learn to take “no” with a positive attitude. It’s business, not personal.
- Your career starts in school. Don’t wait for after school for your career to take shape, start early and think before posting a particular picture to social media— you won’t have to scrub it off later.
- There is a time to listen and a time to speak. Observing and listening is a better way to stand out than being heard and standing out.
- Building relationships and connections are a key business practice in PR. Nothing can beat face-to-face interactions. However, you need also to be adept in e-mailing and social media. Be good in both fields.
- Prove to your boss and co-workers that you care— show them that you want to be a part of a team.
- Skills take time to learn through experience. Pay attention to your classes and take what you’ve learned to a whole new level. Don’t be afraid to step out of the ordinary box of your colleagues and into something different.
- Last word—eat a piece of humble pie daily.