Four Ways to Find a Fulfilling Career in Communications

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There are countless books written about how to be successful, happy and find love. These self help books neglect to tell you the harsh realities of life. Some students in college have a laissez-faire attitude towards their job search. This baffles me.

These students mask their fears of failure by acting like they’re not worried about finding a job. Not only that, but they also put very little effort into actually finding a career until the last minute. This a natural protection mechanism we employ all the time as human beings. We’re afraid of getting hurt or criticized, so we don’t make ourselves vulnerable.

1. Get Experience Through Internships

Considering the economic downturn, college students should really focus on getting experience through relevant internships in advertising, public relations and communications. The first internship is usually the most difficult to find. But once that barrier is broken, it’s much easier to find the next opportunity.

Students should be prepared to take at least one unpaid internship starting out. Gaining relevant work experience is the most important thing. It allows you to build your portfolio and network with professionals in the workplace.

2. Ask Professionals For Advice

Regardless of how much experience you have in the industry, asking for advice is always helpful. This is because it shows that you’re ambitious, somewhat humble and eager to learn. When you ask someone for advice, remember to write it down. Then revisit it when challenges arise. It will be your most powerful weapon. Take notes in interviews, at networking events and during classes. When a colleague sees you taking notes, then they may also recognize that you’re actually listening.

3. Stay Positive in All Circumstances

If you interviewed at a communications firm and they did not extend an offer your way, then stay positive. A former colleague once told me to NEVER BURN BRIDGES. Even if you disagree with someone, always be kind, courteous and gracious. Send thank you emails after interviews and consider even sending handwritten thank you notes. This concept may seem archaic to millennials, but some hiring managers still appreciate the gesture.

4. Grow from Critiques and Challenges

Sometimes being critiqued can feel like a personal attack on your character. But most professionals who critique candidates have good intentions. If someone who is older, wiser and has more work experience than you tells you to work on your presentation skills or body language, then they probably have valid points. I’ve also heard advertising folks say you should only take criticism seriously in interviews if it’s a reoccurring theme. They may have a valid argument. But it never hurts to stop and evaluate ourselves once in awhile. Because there’s always room for improvement.

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