By Ian Marker, Account Associate
As someone who recently graduated from college with a degree in “strategic communications” (aka public relations for people who don’t speak academic institution) I thought I was equipped with everything I needed to be my own public relations and marketing CEO. What I found, after securing the all-important post-graduation job, was that I still had a lot to learn about working and the REAL world of marketing.
- You’re not the boss.
- College is an experience, for most, when a person finally gets to leap from the nest and branch out to new horizons. It’s a time when students get to focus on themselves, finding what they like and how to make their mark on the world. Well, some might find it harder than others, but in the working world we lose the “I determine how hard I work and when I turn things in” mentality. College has a way of making you feel like you’re the top of the food chain, but in that first job you’re probably back at the bottom! This isn’t all bad, however. Some of you procrastinators might just find this shift to be a silver lining!
- Learn the nuts and bolts.
- In school, you take classes for research methods, public speaking, business ethics, PR and ethics, etc. All of these courses teach you great things about what it’s like to work in PR and marketing. What colleges don’t do the best teaching you in school is what tools you’ll be using and how to use them! I found a huge learning curve trying to grasp the “nuts and bolts” or tools of the job. Learning how to operate our agency’s email marketing program, the nuts and bolts of how to process email questions or how your agency performs a competitive audit are all items that I felt thoroughly unprepared for. Luckily, we new hires are pretty smart and find it easy to adapt to these new systems. We own the generation of being able to Google the answer to any question and know that the success to any project is asking questions before you start! Always keep in mind that the people around you are there to help you and, contrary to what you thought about some of your teachers, they actually want you to succeed. See, we think that college is supposed to prepare us for the working world, but now I would argue that college is instead providing a background for students being able to adapt and continue growing past graduation.
- Be an overachiever!
- Let’s assume that you were an overachiever in your studies (you were a marketing major, after all). Those clubs you put on your resume and the extra projects you created for “fun.” All of those helped you to land that shiny new job so why would you stop doing them? If you want to keep learning and earning your way up the “favorite new employee” ladder, you better stay active. There’s nothing wrong with accepting any project you can get your hands on. Don’t know exactly how to accomplish that project? Well, give it a shot and if you get stuck then ask for help.
Overall, earning that new marketing or communication job right out of college isn’t an easy task and it will require some work. With that said, I guarantee you that you will not regret it.