Ask the PRofessor – Advice for young professionals

Question: What advice do you have for young PR professionals/ recent grads to enhance their careers from the start?—W.N.W., Fairfax, Va.

Dear W.N.W.: As a beginning PR professional, you may find that your greatest challenge is to adapt to the demands of your new workplace. You will find the world of work to be quite different from campus life. For one thing, they expect you to arrive on time! For another, they don’t like it if you leave at 5:00 on the dot, as if you couldn’t wait to get out of there. Your style of dress will probably be different, and you certainly could brush up on your manners because you are now working with professionals.

All of that aside, I suggest you go to your first job with the attitude that you are willing to do anything (within reason, of course). Make cold calls to the media? Can do. Conduct tiresome research on an issue? No problem. Assemble media clips and produce a report? Happy to.

Learn everything you can to build on your academic experience, from pitching a story to writing the organization’s annual report, a speech for your boss or an article for the company newsletter. Be sure to volunteer for tasks within your area of expertise, such as using social media to develop relations with target audiences. In that area alone, you may build up a reputation and a niche that will keep you employed for years to come!



The “PRofessor” is Fred Whiting, APR, a long-time PRSA-NCC member, chair of the Mentoring Committee and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and Hood College in Frederick. Fred will answer questions personally and publish some in the chapter’s website and blog.

Do you have a question about public relations? Ask the PRofessor! Submit your questions here or you can leave public questions/comments below.

One thought on “Ask the PRofessor – Advice for young professionals

  1. Excellent advice, Fred. I’ll offer two more tips:
    1 – Reach out to your more seasoned coworkers — ask them to join you for lunch or coffee breaks and ask them how they got into the profession. Ask them about their experiences and what they have learned in the job. They will appreciate your interest and will, in turn, take an interest in you.
    2 – Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know how to do something. This may be the one point in your career that you don’t have to worry about tarnishing your reputation by admitting that you don’t know everything. Ask for instructions/guidance and be sure to thank your advisor once you’ve mastered that new skill.

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