1. Develop a humble  attitude. You are not entitled to a job; you must earn it.
  2. Be a continuous learner. Graduation doesn’t signal the end of learning to communicate. Practice your writing skills and learn to use new tools.
  3. Choose face-to-face communication. Eye contact is important! See this recent WSJ article.
  4. Volunteer. Help a colleague on a project or be on a committee. You will win friends and influence people.
  5. Read, Read, Read. The best way to stay on top of current events, trends, popular culture, politics, art, international affairs, the environment–and improve your writing–is is to develop a love of reading. Note: Now that you’ve graduated, you’re not stuck reading textbooks so it’s time to branch out.
  6. Write everyday. Whether it is to your boss, your mother, your best friend or your own journal. Develop the habit of writing every day. At least 500 words. Start a blog and give your opinion. No, I don’t mean Facebook posts.
  7. Make time to meditate. Take a break from technology each day. No cell phone, tablet, PC, TV, Internet, radio. Ponder your family, career, life goals and what you can do for others.
  8. Get a hobby. It’s best if it’s physical and you interact with people.
  9. Develop a solid work ethic. Be early to work. On occasion, stay late until the project is finished.
  10. Travel. This is a lifelong education.
  11. Be curious. Learn from people from other cultures. Develop an interest in new subjects.
  12. Be a good listener. Effective listening means asking good questions.

In the spirit of graduation, I offer up these tips to PR graduates. Congratulations on making it to this point and I wish you all the best.


35 thoughts on “12 Tips for PR Graduates

  1. There are some very good tips here. I find it interesting that lists like seem to pop up everywhere in popular press. For blogs to publications like Forbes. As I student about to graduate, I find information on these lists helpful. It would be very helpful in school if these pearls of wisdom were taught more to students in class during 400 level classes. Or if there was a mandatory class to teach you about what you actually need to be prepared for in the real world. As some have no idea.

    1. I agree with Patrick here. It’s important to find things that interest you. I think this list is helpful, because it suggests things that sometimes I think we can tend to put on the back burner as soon as we get busy. Things like, traveling, meditating, reflecting. These are all things that are good for the soul, and help to create balance in life. Balance is key when trying to be successful in life. This list is a great reference. I think this list really applies to any college graduate from any major. Very helpful!

    2. I really see a value in the points that you highlighted. It is so easy to get wrapped up in things and not really pay attention to what actually matters. The things that actually matter being the experiences that cultivate your interest and happiness on a deeper level. While in the short term it may seem daunting it is important to follow your passions.

  2. I like that the advice suggest for students to continue learning and reading. I’m currently a student and I always try to learn new things. I like going off campus and looking for opportunities in the community that I can learn from. Often times these events and networking lead to opportunities and new connections. Another thing I like to suggest to fellow students is go out and talk to people the industry. I’ve com to find that they love talking to students quite often and will offer great opportunities if they like you. I’ve come to notice that having a hobby is very smart because you will start growing connections with people who do the them too.

  3. I feel that these lists are helpful in some ways but I find myself losing interest half way through. I don’t feel that this list relates to PR enough to call it steps for PR graduates. This seems more of a personal opinion of yours on what people should do beyond bettering their PR skills. Like Patrick said I do find some of the lists we see quite often from reading articles from Forbes and Huffington Post very helpful to put our expectations into perspective and how to better our opportunity for a better career.

  4. These tips are really helpful for all of us who are still trying to figure out their lives after graduation. I totally agree that traveling is a lifelong education because ever since I came to the U.S I discovered a lot about different cultures and people’s lifestyles. However, I hate reading so I’d like to challenge myself and start reading. Any recommendation for an interesting book to read?

    1. I recommend picking a book on a subject you are interested in. It could be fiction, poetry, business, history or science. I always suggest “Duct Tape Marketing” to business students. Here are some others I like: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Wool” by Hugh Howey, “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein. There are so many options to choose. Look at the book reviews on Amazon.com or Goodreads.com for additional ideas.

  5. These are such good tips not only for PR graduates but for everyone who is in the work force or is about to enter it. If we think learning will stop after graduation, we will fall behind. Like the proverb I like best: Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back. So much truth in such few words. Also, I wish I could adhere to the tech-break once a day. But we have become so dependent on these little gadgets that living without them seems impossible. My cell phone basically has invaded every corner of my life… I even sleep next to it so it can monitor my sleep (how crazy is that???!!!).
    Finding the right balance however is key. Meditating is such a good concept but what if we just do not have time or are willing to take the time. It needs planning as with all other things in life. It is all about our own priorities. If the doctor would say, meditate for an hour each day or you have only 3 more months to live, we certainly would find the time to do it.
    Thanks for all the good tips! And congratulations to all graduates!

    1. I literally started typing “A lot of these tips are great advice for anyone in any field,” before I realized that you said exactly that. I find a lot of these steps helpful for me, an undergraduate student and full-time employee. Tech breaks work wonders! I sleep next to mine too, mostly for the alarm function, but turning my phone off for one day a week is so relaxing. It feels stressful for the first hour or so because you have anxiety about whois possibly trying to contact you, but that goes away. It actually is more stressful have the phone interrupt you on a regular basis than it is to be disconnected. You should totally try it!

      Hobbies are SUPER helpful. I play soccer every weekend and go to the gym pretty much everyday. It is a hobby of mine to work out and learn new things while doing so. It is a great way to blow off some steam and motivate myself.

      One tip that I think should be added: Set small goals daily. For example, make the bed right when you get up, remember to pack a lunch, call your mom, etc. I know these sound like chores, but small thing around the house or in your life that are normally neglected make great goals. I always feel so accomplished when I knock out a few chores/goals

  6. These are all great tips into living life in general. Of course they can tremendously transfer over into one’s career but overall they produce skills that necessarily aren’t focused upon in college education. For instance, as a member of FIR, I had the notion that I was somewhat competent in the advertising world coming into my final year of education. But by a tip from a former instructor to just read ONE current article pertaining to whatever industry I was interested in daily or even weekly, allowed me to better understand the real community within my respected field in which courses had not emphasized heavily on.

  7. I really like the point of being a continuous learner. I think that is an important skill we can all take away from any kind of schooling. Regardless of the type of degree or how long it took us to get it, all graduates and previous students should not expect that they know everything now. If anything we should understand better that there is so much information out there and being a student we have a great skill in being able to learn.

  8. I have been blessed to get a lot of my “education” from work and the executives that I am surrounded by. All of the things you have listed here are things that I have heard time and time again, so I appreciate that you have this typed out here. I sometimes wish that college (and high school) teachers would talk about this a little more. It is general for sure, but it’s sage advice. Thank you.

  9. These are great tips for anyone looking to become more productive and simply more successful in life, graduates or not. These little things truly do matter, and spending the time to accomplish these tasks will pave the way for completing larger ones, along with giving a sense of accomplishment.

  10. I think these are GREAT tips!! Not just for PR graduates but for all graduates and people in general. I think communicating face to face, eye contact, be a good listener are all very important tips to follow everyday in professional and personal environments. I also believe that daily meditation is extremely important in order to maintain a positive and healthy state of mind… whether that is a gym workout, a walk outside, yoga or any other form of personal time away from busy day to day tasks.

  11. When working for Habitat for Humanity back when I was 19, I had a boss who made a point of giving me tips for the future version of myself. A lot of his tips align with these. As someone who had worked his way through the corporate world to land in non-profit work, he always said, “it doesn’t matter where you end up, strong communication and public speaking skills will help you anywhere in life. Invest yourself in those courses in your education. Invest yourself in your free time in people. Your relationships with others and what you learn from experiences with others are what count. Connection is everything.” Balance is also everything. And this list of tips speaks to that. Definitely true that, as others have pointed out, this is good advice for anyone. Another tip I received sitting in on a panel of Portland marketers is to stay interesting, which is essentially what the above tips would ensure that you do. Without the balance of continued growth and new experience in life, you lose creativity and ability to produce interesting work due to lack of inspiration outside of life’s demands. Having a healthy balance is important.

  12. These tips remind me of Dalai Lama’s The 18 Rules for Living. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Sometime we take life for granted and forget how to maintain a good balance happy and meaningful life. One great book that inspired me much was the Last Lecture. Great read.

  13. Love the first one, because we are not entitled to a job. I have heard many complaints about my generation and how we have an undeserved sense of entitlement. When I first heard this I was annoyed and I disagreed. Now, I think I feel the same way. We are not entitled to anything, we have to earn it. As a graduating senior, I feel that I have earned something legitimate for the first time. And I know that even with this degree I am not guaranteed a job. I had an interview the other day for a position in my current company. For weeks leading up to this interview I felt that they owed me this job. I have served them for a long time. Thankfully before the interview I read this list. It gave me better perspective during the interview (and hopefully it help me come across as less entitled).

    1. Entitlement is a weird phenomenon for our generation and I definitely agree that at times I feel this undue sense of entitlement. I agree that job interviews need to be thought of as opportunities, instead of our God given right. A lot of times a humble approach is one that shows how truly professional you are to your potential employers.

  14. Great tips in general, not just for graduates. I have myself a few terms left, but all these things really resonate with me. I can see how number 1 might be difficult to grasp, as I am lucky enough to already have a career, but I cant imagine graduating with thousands of other students in this state in the same month then then job hunting. I suppose that is the importance of job fairs, internships, and other college resources. My schooling has actually peaked my interest in pursuing another path in the workforce, but I think I will sit tight for the time being and continue to enlighten myself in the world of education.

  15. This list is very useful, I know a lot of the things on here are aspects that I need to improve on. For instance writing everyday, I can sense my writing ability start to dip down when I haven’t practiced it in awhile. Another one on this list that I need to keep in mind is volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to get experience doing various things and being able to use it to get a job is an awesome benefit. At times it seems like I have better things to do then to go an volunteer but in reality volunteering in your community builds a more cohesive and supportive local area.

  16. This is really useful advice, and a lot of it can be applicable to other majors. Number 7 hits home for me, because it’s really easy to lose perspective when we’re tuned in all the time. Wish our school had a PR major option!

  17. Shellenbarger’s is spot-on when she says that eye contact develops an emotional response between two communicators. Keeping this element in our daily conversations is a valuable connector between people in business situations. In group work, the feeling of being an integral, important part of the team is necessary to maintain understanding between member; which translate to higher quality of work with fewer disagreements.

    Professor Hardy’s tips are a great reminder to students and professionals to hold on to the important skills and traits that are necessary to function as well-rounded and considerate human beings. As a society, we all need to look up every once in a while.

  18. Firstly, the tips listed for college graduates are fantastic. I completely agree with the previous replies that this list could be extremely useful to any 21st century graduate from any respective major. In particular, tip #6, “Develop the habit of writing every day. At least 500 words. Start a blog and give your opinion.” I believe in adding to this list; one tip that should be stressed is the importance of a social media presence on an array of platforms.

    With 21st century technology, motivated college graduates today have the tools to distinguish themselves from other graduates. Currently, 86% of employers check social networks and of that, 73% of college grads are hired based on social media presence alone. These social media platforms have become an informal ‘cover letter’; graduates aren’t even realizing that they are sending information to future employers. The most popular employer-reviewed platforms include: Linked-In, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter (How Students and Graduates).

    Additionally, the lack of a social presence on media platform has also proven to have a negative impact on a college graduate’s future (How Students and Graduates). This new hiring mechanism stresses the importance of creating the appropriate content within a social feed, ensuring the right message is being sent. One way to create and enhance current social media platforms is to post the full spectrum of your life’s activities and interests on an array of social sites; this shows employers that you are consistent with your presence, talents, and abilities. In this day and age of social recruitment, social media seems to be one of the major aspects in finding a job as a new college graduate.

    If you are a college graduate or soon to be one, a great article to read for more tips on enhancing your social media presence is listed as follows: http://mashable.com/2012/02/10/students-job-search-social-media/

    “How Students and Graduates Should Use Social Media.” TheUnderCoverRecruiter. TheUnderCoverRecruiter, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/social-media-students-graduates/

  19. Those are really great tips and if I am completely honest I have been looking more and more into the PR jobs now that I have more information on them and think this is a very interesting career option. What I think is funny, is that everyone here will tell you to get a job you like as it will make life easier and you are automatically better at what you do. In Germany that is quite the opiate most people like my parents will tell you to get a good job, one that pays well and that is all that matters than you can spent your free time doing what you want. But if you are stuck in a job you don’t particularly like it is easy to slack off at crappy job and not care about it, but that can have effect on for your future. On the most obvious level, it makes you lazy – it might not seem like it matters, but the longer you spend slacking off at a crappy job, the bigger effect it has on you for jobs in the future. Even the crappiest job fosters friendships, partnerships and new connections for the future. Through my may seeming pointless jobs, I met many of my lifelong friends, creative partners, and people who’ve helped me with further employment. If you present yourself well in any situation something unexpected might come out of it. When I came to the US as an Au Pair I could have just been an average nanny and just do as asked nothing more, nothing less. That would have probably made my year more fun but I would also not have built the connection with the family I did and I would have not been here now, with them taking me in again to live there for free so I can go through school here. Another important part I learned though this is that you always have to ask question there are so many things that change daily and that you might think you know much about but trust me learning never stops. Now I know that one of the best signs of intelligence is curiosity. The more questions you ask, the more intelligent you become. Ask questions about how things work. Ask why they work. Ask why they don’t work. Ask where things come from. Just ask as many questions as you can about everything – the people who already made it in the world love to share their stories and if you ask the right questions there is no question you can get a lot out of their already accomplished life successes.

  20. I think the first step is incredibly important to remember regardless of the job or industry you are getting into. We are moving into a society with increased entitlement mentality; however, I think it is important for people to remember to EARN their jobs. The industry I want to be in is incredibly competitive and thus this is a point that I have to remember on a daily basis. Everything I do has to be towards earning my position. It can be stressful but very rewarding.

  21. I really like step one, I think its something we must remember after were graduate. That even though we have a degree in something it doesn’t matter we still must earn each job that we have. I find face to face communication key to your success. In my current job I have a meeting with my advisor/mentor every week and sometimes we don’t get to everything we need to and he wants to do it over email. But if it isn’t quite job related than I prefer to wait until next week because I prefer face to face communication. I have started a journal this year to continue write, even when it isn’t school related. Having a strong work ethic is something that I have developed over the past four years. I also try to make sure that I’m a good listen to those around me so I can help them do their job easier.

  22. Continuous education is very important to me. Recently I have been frightened by the fact that I will be done with school soon. I get nervous thinking about no longer attending class. I think that it is very important to set goals for yourself, outside of your specific job. What sets you apart from others, is self motivation. I think that is what defines us.

  23. These tips are very important if you want to be involved with PR in a profession. Keeping up with trends and writing are very important in PR. I agree that reading is key because there is no other way to keep track of the newest trends and opinions. Also, reading helps keep up with writing skills. If you read and write both skills are enhanced because both areas are practiced. I do not enjoy reading so PR is not a profession I would go into, however it is very important to understand.

  24. Found this list to be helpful and even saved a copy to my desktop! I believe most of the tips listed above are applicable to all careers. For example being a life long learner would give someone a competitive edge in any job. For the most part I believe some of the tips are common sense however it is always nice to be reminded of what it takes to succeed. Greatly appreciate the motivational posts, thank you for sharing!

  25. This list consists of very powerful tools for being an effective PR person. The two that stood out for me were the second, third and twelfth ones. I think these are pretty relevant because I’ve noticed they appeal to my life recently. I’m in a band so in order to get our music and overall brand out to the public, it requires communicating with promoters in effective ways. Being able to communicate is crucial in PR situations like number three suggests, but number two and twelve are also important things to do because they involve communicating in general. Talking to someone face-to-face has almost become an art form in today’s world because people are now able to do business with someone even if they have never heard their voice. It’s important to be able to articulate what you have to say to someone personably. The other important thing to remember when you’re communicating with someone is taking the time to actually pay close attention to what someone is saying in order to promote positive/relevant feedback or specific questions to help create forward progression. Networking is a term that relies on communication and it is often employed when talking about creating a sustainable business focussed entity. While it is sometimes a vague example for success, it is nonetheless important because the way a business communicates determines how successful it can become.

  26. It is very important to me to be learning and growing each day. The best way to do this is to read, travel, and interact with people. That is the best piece of advice out there. I love the idea about starting a blog. I really want to do this! I am just struggling with finding something I am really passionate about and would make a difference for others. Stay tuned!

  27. These are some amazing tips. Some ive done, others I really need to improve on. Ive tried to become more cultured by studying abroad, and have found that was a tremendous help in talking to people. I think the cultural and language barriers really help you to better your listening skills. You also learn how to empathize better and “read between the lines” when interacting with others. In the future I hope to read and write more. For the past few years I have basically only been reading textbooks, but they dont help improve writing style and creativity the same way that novels or memoirs do. I also agree that a job is not owed to you, you have to earn it!

  28. These points are really helpful for PR people. Also some points are helpful for everyone going into the business world.

    We need to keep learning and output our thoughts.
    Things are changing so fast and new technology and innovation have a possibility to destroy the current jobs, so we all need to know what’s happening and predict the future to protect ourselves.

    Writing a blog is really important because that helps us get new information and the process of writing on our own help us get a better understanding of the topics.

    By keep doing that, we can tell what we really need to focus on now.

  29. This article appeared with a perfect timing as I am preparing myself for an internship interview for tomorrow morning! All of those tips are essential to continuously improve yourself.
    You need to keep you goals in mind to progress and to do everything you can to achieve them !

  30. I like these tips a lot. Especially the ones that remind us to be humble and to be smart about how we approach the work world. It’s so important to get in front of people and build a good relationship with them, and all of these tips are about making a positive impression on people. You can’t be in PR if you don’t know how to make a positive impression on people. In order to do that, we have to have control of ourselves, which is why meditating, and keeping a journal are good ideas also. This is a list for living a successful life, one where you actively manage your relationships with other people.

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