“Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.” We have all probably come across this phrase on social media, but have you ever thought that it is truly all you need to succeed?
It’s easy to look back at skipped classes, missed opportunities, half-assed assignments, and bad days at your job or internship and think that you may be lacking the skills or know-how needed to succeed in the PR industry. It’s easy to think that the more things you’re “efficient” or “fluent” in, the chances of being hired by your dream firm or company are higher. And I’m not here to argue with you, but I would like to point out a few of the skills that we have all been given opportunities to learn or experience which make you much more hirable than those other guys.
1. Be a team player.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that group projects might suck, but they are also a prime example of potential missed opportunities for creative collaboration and problem solving. For employers, they are looking for someone who can adapt easily and blend into their company culture. Every company is a team, and if they’re not, they’re doing it wrong. Utilize group projects and student organizations (i.e. GrandPR, PRSSA, Ad Club) to gain experience working on or leading a team of people working toward one end goal.
2. Be honest.
Don’t try and be someone you’re not. If you don’t know a thing about Photoshop, don’t tell them you have design skills. If you’ve never laid eyes on their website (which is a major no-no), don’t make comments about their online presence. The company isn’t perfect, and neither are you – and it’s not a secret. If you don’t know the answer, be honest, but be diligent and find the answer.
3. Know and capitalize on your strengths.
In GrandPR, we use Clifton StrengthsFinder to discover and utilize our strengths. Having a personal awareness of your strengths and possessing the ability to put them into words are two different things. It’s important to be able to communicate what your talents are, and even more important to explain how you’re better than the competition.
4. Be open and honest about your weaknesses.
When employers ask what your greatest weakness is, it’s no shock to hear the old staple: “Sometimes, I just spend too much time on one project to make it the best it can be.” No one is falling for that. Along with your strengths, know your weaknesses, and know how to present them as opportunities for growth. For example, I love to collaborate and communicate with others, but I do not function well in a competitive environment because that isn’t what drives me to do my best.
5. Be you.
As cheesy as it sounds, be yourself! Some of the best interviews you may have will start with a surface-level compliment and end with pictures of their kids. Show that you are a person, not just another interview of yet another recent grad looking for their dream job. At the end of the day, you and your personality are all that can set you apart.
While these things may not be a sure-fire way to your future dream career, they are definitely a starting point! What other things do you feel you have gained through your education and experiences?
Daltyn Little, CEO | Daltyn is a senior at Grand Valley State University, sporting a major in Advertising and Public Relations paired with a language emphasis in Italian. Prior to her promotion to CEO, she served as an Account Associate and Account Executive for GrandPR during the 2013-14 school year. She has a passion for anything unique, colorful, and creative. She loves to explain, to describe, to host, and to write. She is generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in any situation. Her public relations passion resides in non-profits. Her top five strengths, according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder are Developer, Communication, Positivity, Includer, and Maximizer.