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A good GPA + PR experience + networking = your dream job after graduation
If this is true for you, CONGRATULATIONS! If not, this post—and a BIG cyber hug—is for you.
I graduated from college in May. Like most seniors, I put a lot of time and energy into my resume. One of my professors always warned students that an unfortunate typo in the word “public” could prove very costly. I certainly couldn’t afford that, so I often edited my resume with my career counselor. One day she suggested I add my leadership experience.
I’m already struggling to keep it to one page!
Looking back, I appreciate her suggestion. Everyone and the guy next door wants to do PR, so it’s going to take more than experience to give you an edge.
“How can I stand out,” you ask?
There are a lot of ways to answer that question, but adding leadership experience to your resume is a good start. More and more employers are even starting to require it.
Here are a few things I learned from being a student leader. Trust me, they translate well to agency life.
As a leader, you have to do more than put up with people: you have to get results from them. Like group members, clients and co-workers aren’t always the easiest people to deal with. Knowing how to work with different personalities will help you figure out how to get them to behave long enough to get the results you’re being paid to produce.
In an organization, you also learn that the action of one is a reflection of the entire group. Take for example TIME magazine reporter Michael Grunwald’s Twitter drama. Why did the magazine catch heat for a comment Grunwald tweeted from his personal account? Because they’re a team! That’s just the way it works.
I found it difficult—and sometimes impossible—to fit work, class, homework, extracurricular involvement and sleep (if I was so lucky) into 24 hours. As a leader, you have a responsibility to deliver despite your load. In lieu of superpowers, I had to learn my limits, how to use my resources and how to delegate tasks in order to get the job done.
As the head of an organization it really helps to anticipate the needs and questions of your members and your superiors. It’s not only a good look, but it saves time and headaches. As a new professional, it’s your duty to make your boss’s job easier. You can do that by being resourceful and using common sense, which is really…well…not that common. Try to anticipate needs rather than be told what to do.
Yes, I understand that not everyone is comfortable in a leadership position. Remember this: titles do not make leaders: experiences and contributions do. You don’t have to be on an executive board to offer either, but both are gifts that keep on giving.