Posts Tagged ‘Career Advice’

Adulting as A New Professional

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

By: Whitney Welker*

As a recent college graduate, it would be a lie if I said that working in the ‘real’ world turned out to be everything I thought it would be. You know what I’m talking about. The whole ‘oh now my life is magically all together’ scenario. You land the perfect job and all of a sudden you have all this free time for friends, perhaps a hobby, oh and of course you meet your soul mate almost immediately {retch}. At least that’s what we are led to believe;MayaAngelouStillLearning that all of our problems will be solved by our first job. WRONG.

One of the first things I learned out of college was that everything I’d need to know about doing my job to the best of my ability wasn’t necessarily going to be things I learned in the classroom.  All of those ‘real life’ scenarios, case studies and pitches that we worked on so diligently meant very little now. Yes, while in college I learned intangible skills to prepare me for landing a job, and I most definitely learned more about the industry, but there was so much more to learn.

As a result, I started looking to my coworkers for examples and advice. To give a little background, with my job I am a marketing department, of one, for the region I support, so it’s pretty safe to say that learning by brainstorming and picking the brains of my coworkers was going to be my best option. Learning from your coworkers can actually be one of the best things as well. They have been in the industry longer than you, so use that experience to help yourself succeed.

Another thing that I learned was not to try and tackle the world in a day. This will never work. I find myself making a To Do list for the day with about 25 things on it. Let’s be honest, all of those items are not going to get done today. So I learned to make a weekly To Do list, and a daily To Do list. This way I can take the time to focus on the tasks that I need to get done that day instead of worrying about a project that I have more time to work on. Sounds like college multitasking again, right?

Working with others is probably the biggest obstacle for me in the ‘real’ world. You don’t realize this as much in college because although you have group projects to work on, those only last, at most, a semester. When you are in the workplace, this ‘group project’ can last years. With so many moving parts in a company I find myself speaking with multiple departments on a daily basis. This means MANY ‘group projects’. It was vital for me to begin learning more about my co-workers’ personalities so that we could succeed as a whole. This means learning when is the right time of day to contact someone. Do they like to have their coffee before talking business? Do they prefer an email over face-to-face or phone conversations? All of these traits, and more, need to be identified so that you can make the most of your time and theirs.

In all, my first job has been great. I love my company, coworkers and job duties. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have been given, and still look to expand my knowledge about the industry on a daily basis. I believe that when you stop learning, you stop producing. So stay inquisitive and know that although the world after college is tough, you can succeed if you try your hardest every day.

Do you have tips for new communications professionals embarking on their first “adult job” that you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you!


*Whitney Welker is a Marketing Analyst for a utility company. She enjoys the diversity of her role as she not only creates marketing pieces, but also handles customer communication and website content. In her free time Whitney likes to spend time at her family farm and traveling with her friends.

PRSSA National Conference: Student-run PR Firms

Monday, November 9th, 2009

73984912_20While in San Diego for the PRSA 2009 International Conference, of which BurrellesLuce is a sponsor, I went over to the PRSSA National Conference and sat-in on the Student-run Firm WorkshopNick Lucido, PRSSA national vice president of professional development and University of Michigan student, moderated the session. 

Mark Mahoney, senior communications specialist for Kohler, kicked off the session by introducing a national collegiate marketing competition for Save Water America. The competition requires the chapter/student-run firm to respond to a request for proposal (RFP) and develop an executive proposal outlining a marketing and public relations plan and budget. They will receive money and supplies to execute their marketing plan and will be judged on several criteria including creativity, media value, attendees, and local product sales.

The top team wins $10,000 worth of water-conserving products for their school, an all-expense paid trip to Kohler headquarters with roundtable executive meeting, and water conservation products for each team member. First and second runners-up will also receive water conservation products for their school and team members. (more…)

Are You a Conference Commando?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Steve Shannon
Over the last month and half I have attended six different PR conferences and have learned a lot, but more importantly I have met many new people and renewed business friendships with many others (read: expanded my professional and personal networks and engaged possible new clients and business partners for BurrellesLuce).

istock_000008002627xsmall.jpgUnfortunately, to this reporter, it seems like most folks attending conferences just gladly come and go from session to session, not bothering to interact with their fellow attendees. Hard to believe as PR is all about public relating.

For all intents and purposes, meeting people face-to-face is the true benefit of attending conferences these days. In the past, there was no such thing as a conference call or a webinar. So by default, if you wanted to learn about a particular topic, a conference was the natural place to go. But now, in the Internet age, and with the premium put on time, you can do distance learning by phone and/or web. If you’re going to invest the time, effort, and money it takes to travel to and attend a conference, maximize your face time and be as Keith Ferrazzi would say, a “conference commando.”

What’s a conference commando?  It’s somebody who attends a conference not only to learn, but to meet as many people, and the right people, who might be able to help them somewhere down the line. But successful commandos know it’s not all about them, you’ve got to give to get, as Ferrazzi counsels. 

If you’re ready to be a Conference Commando, it’s easy and the benefits are many, follow this link to Keith Ferrazzi’s website for 15 tips on how you can become one.

December Job Blues? ‘Tis the season for career networking

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Unfortunately, some companies still don’t understand in a slow economy they should increase their pubIic relations efforts, not reduce them. Sadly, this is confirmed by the notices I’ve received in recent weeks from PR colleagues who have been “liberated” from their current positions. A few liberations didn’t surprise me due to industry conditions, but others caught me totally off-guard. Below I’ve compiled some thoughts and resources. I encourage you to add resources you’ve found helpful to aid our peers in their time of need.

Update your résumé

Customize your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for based on the posted job description. There are many free sites and resources available online including 

Résumés that Get You the Job, an audio program that provides tried-and- true tips for creating a great resumé.


Take advantage of holiday social events. There’s no harm in letting people know you are looking for a new position and when appropriate, to ask to leverage their personal and professional contacts within the companies you target for employment. Attend and volunteer for events hosted by IABC and PRSA. Before you venture out to power-network your way back to employment or to a better job, check out some excellent networking tips in Karen Susman’s weekly newsletter.

Leverage your social network

Keep your online profiles up to date. There’s nothing worse than reaching out to contacts only when you need a job, so please don’t be that person. Go through your contacts, recommend their work, and ask former colleagues and managers to provide a recommendation of your work as well. Prospective employers will most likely conduct some preliminary research on professional and social networking sites based on your application and you should make certain your profile accurately reflects the hirable you.

Freshen up your skills

If you are not already active in social media, take advantage of this time and join conversations where you can contribute and build your profile. If you don’t know where to start, keep your eyes out for the BurrellesLuce free social media overview presentation, scheduled for later this month.  (You may also download two BurrellesLuce white papers, Conversation Builds Community and Social Media Provides Opportunity, here.)  If you are already an active participant, then build your profile as a thought leader in your area of expertise. All professional communicators and PR practitioners must be well versed in social media.

Take advantage of the holiday season

While looking for a job during the holiday season is certainly challenging, there is also an advantage in that your competition slows their efforts during this time. Many companies want to fill key spots before the New Year in an effort to kick off 2009 with a full staff.

Send thank-you notes

Send thank-you notes to everyone who encourages you, opens doors, and provides advice, counsel and insight whether you use it or not. A thank-you note goes a long way and allows you to stand out as someone people will want to help in the future.

Please share other resources and your thoughts here so our peers can minimize their down time and quickly get back on track to inform, influence and persuade.