I recently attended the Puget Sound Chapter of Public Relations Society of America’s 2009 Career Jumpstart at Seattle Pacific University and thought I would share what I learned.
The messages given by keynote speaker Kyle Warnick were:
- Be authentic and genuine
- Network like hell
- Differentiate yourself
- Play to your strengths
- Be prepared
None of this information was necessarily new or groundbreaking, yet it was refreshing to hear words of encouragement from multiple professionals in the field.
Most people are aware of our current economic crisis, so now more than ever is the time to get ahead and stand out in the stack of resumes. Warnick’s advise is to do your homework before an interview. Review the organization, know who their clients are, what their products are and do a web search on the person you’re meeting with.
What I gathered from the conference was to start early. Go on informational interviews now, ask people you know to put you in contact with someone they know (network). Going out and talking to professionals benefits you in many ways: you gain the experience of talking and interviewing with little pressure, you are getting your name out there, and you open up the opportunity for further networking. Although going to talk with PR pros might be uncomfortable, it is great experience.
Words of wisdom from Tera Randall, account executive, Porter Novelli, to those who have apprehensions about networking and putting themselves out there: “If you are comfortable in your job, you are doing something wrong. Constantly working outside your comfort zone is a great way to ensure you reach your full potential.”