Three Lessons We Can Learn from the Class of 2013

Adam Novak

Each spring, I spend a fair amount of time educating the youth about a career in PR. It’s part of two senior-laden classes that PAN’s founder teaches at his alma mater (and mine), Syracuse University. As his teaching assistant, students often come to me for career advice; things they should be doing now to prepare them for the working world. It’s generally a hodgepodge of things that I didn’t do at that age – a “do as I say, not as I do” collection of wisdom that I’m happy to share with anyone that will listen.

But PR is a two-way street, right? If you preach two-way dialogue, then you have to listen and learn from the students themselves. When I was on campus last week, I found a few things we all could be learning from them.

Lesson One: Spring Clean Your Digital Profile

The job hunters out there know how important it is to have a robust digital profile. But once you land, your LinkedIn profile can take a back seat. This is not acceptable. There’s a decent chance you have recent experience, skills or insights that can (and should) be shared with your network. You want to put your best extension of yourself available to your current clients, prospects and future networking partners.

Lesson Two: Try Something New Outside of Work

It’s fascinating to see how different types of people handle transition. Some want to find the next place as quickly as possible, but others embrace their current “free agent” status. But transition periods are not the only times to start trying new things. In fact, new skills and experiences help you become a better communicator and marketer. It’s easy to get into the day-to-day marketing minutiae, but unique experiences create diversity. Diverse experiences lead to diverse ideas. And great ideas are the building blocks of effective PR and marketing campaigns.

Lesson Three: Bulk Up Your Skillset

In a competitive job market, a variety of skills can be the difference in the candidate that gets hired and the candidate that doesn’t. The same goes to the campaign that worked and the one that didn’t. Diversity in digital and traditional is the standard. Learning new digital, multimedia or measurement skills can directly impact campaign performance.

To the students at Syracuse – thanks for the lesson last week. I might get a year older every trip I make, but you’re still never too young to go back to school.

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