My friend Ross Monaghan, a lecturer at Deakin University's School of Communication and Creative Arts, is coming out of a very hot Australian summer and preparing to welcome his first year PR students. Yesterday he asked his Twitter followers to share any career advice we might have for his incoming class. Here are the things that came to mind that I shared with Ross.
- If you don't know how to touch type, learn it now, and I mean take a typing course and learning to type with all 10 fingers. It is one of the most important skills of a communicator and it is one of the foundations of a successful career. I'm not kidding.
- If you don't know how to write well, change your career path now. You don't have to be Marcel Proust, but you HAVE to be able to write clearly, with good spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- If you're not deep into the world of social media, dive in now. Start a blog. Produce your own podcast. Learn how to edit video. Understand how social networks work, and be constantly working your network. Join Linkedin. These things are changing the way we communicate. They are changing our society. And you need to immerse yourself in them to have a successful PR career.
- Understand that the first five years of your career will be extremely frustrating, with low pay, tons of boring work and very little influence. You have to live through this, but you will learn from it and grow into a great career.
- And one other thing, that I didn't include in my note to Ross: Volunteer. For anything that you're interested in or passionate about. It's the best way to pick up practical experience, build a work portfolio and expand your network at the same time.
Agree? Disagree? Any other thoughts?