Career Guidelines Stay the Same for Students and Professionals

I preach basics because I believe so strongly that this is at the core of sound public relations performance.
Because I live some seven months a year in Happy Valley, home of Penn State, I interact with students in the College of Communications. They thirst for guidelines in planning their careers.

It’s interesting that the advice I give them also applies to professionals working their way up the ladder. And to those on the top rung as well.

Become intimately familiar with the company’s (or client’s) business so you can better understand key issues or problems.
(It’s amazing how often this basic is overlooked.)

Earn a reputation for bringing good judgment to the decision making process.
(Good judgment is one of the most illusive of all skills. Think before you jump in with an opinion when big decisions are being made.)

Don’t be afraid to disagree.
(Some of the best PR reputations are built on hearing from “the loyal opposition.”)

Become recognized for your writing talent.
(If you can write an internal memo with clarity and persuasion and a degree of brevity you are headed for distinction. Competing against the lawyers is the most fun of all.)

Now it’s your turn to come up with some basics I’ve missed.

(Posted by Larry Foster)



Filed under Communications / PR

3 responses to “Career Guidelines Stay the Same for Students and Professionals

  1. Rebecca Stazi


    I’m a former Johnson & Johnson Corporate Communications/Rutgers Fellow and had the pleasure of working with Bill and staff for a while a few years back. I continue to bug him from time to time from my home here in Vermont.

    I like to visit your blog from time to time to see what’s new. I would add the following two items to your “guidelines.”:

    Be open to ANY assignment handed to you.
    – You may be surprised to find you can learn the most from those “projects” that seem initially on the surface mundane or not interesting. There is potential for learrning in every opportunity. The collection of your experience can make you more desirable, or at least a better conversationalist!

    Don’t get caught up in titles.
    -By this, I mean, titles are well and good, but don’t always show how much you contribute or can contribute to the team. Stay focused on the work, and your value there, and that will ultimately bring the most satisfaction. You can achieve respect beyond a title.

    Thanks for letting me share.
    Rebecca Killeen Stazi

  2. Rhonda Luniak

    Be a volunteer.
    Some of the best development opportunities in my career have come from volunteering for assignments outside of my normal day-to-day job responsibilities. Companies always have special projects, teams or task forces in need of help. Often, it can be an opportunity to build your network as well as new skills. This is true for both students and professionals– students can volunteer to gain experience prior to getting that first full-time job.

  3. Julie Ratliff

    First, Rhonda, I look forward to working with you and others in June when I join Ethicon Endo-Surgery.

    Second, I completely agree with you. School is a wonderful place to not only give back to community by matching your gifts with local or global needs, but it is also an opportune time to explore ways to refine your skills and meet new people. Volunteering at Notre Dame has been a very helpful way to assist me as I made a small transition from a prior career to one that better fit my passion and career goals.

    From an organizational viewpoint, it is always good to communicate your eagerness to volunteer with projects that stretch and challenge you. I have found that this allows you to be innovative in your normal day-to-day responsibilities.

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