This is the second in our May series of roundups from Vocians, sharing their best advice and tips that they wish could have told their younger selves. Stay tuned for the last post in the series coming next week.
As the latest class of graduates are “wrestled away from the safety and comfort of college life and expelled into the vast nothingness that’s colloquially known as the ‘real world,’” we at Voce have taken the opportunity to think back on our experience at that stage in life.
What do we wish we had known, that nobody bothered to tell us? Rather than returning the favor of the lack of advice, we instead chose to offer some nuggets of quasi-wisdom to the Class of 2016.
Becky Edwards, Supervisor
What do I wish I knew when I graduated college? I wish I knew how important networking throughout college was. I heard it constantly from everyone – from my father to my professors – talk, talk, talk to people. Even if you can’t directly correlate the conversation to something that is timely, you never know when it’ll come back full circle. I wish I had taken advantage of the opportunities that were presented to me – the chance to get to know folks inside and outside the industry I was interested in. The more people you know, the more information you know – the better you’ll be.
Anne Trapasso, Supervisor
I graduated at a time when jobs were pretty hard to come by, let alone internships. I didn’t have the luxury of narrowing my job searches to one or two cities where I knew I wanted to live and start my career. Be open to anything and everything that comes your way immediately after college. Don’t neglect an opportunity because it’s in Boston because your heart was set on SoCal. Is most of your experience in consumer, so not sure about the whole B2B Tech PR thing? Your biggest asset right after graduation is the fact that you’re a sponge, a clean slate for knowledge. Use it to your advantage.
Lynn Grigsby, Intern
I wish I knew that school prepares you for the tactical side of work, that there will never be one way to construct a media list or write a blog. When you’re in PR, every client is different. Being an adaptable person makes a world of difference because it opens you up to every opportunity on the horizon. School can give you a one-track mind and approach PR in a mathematical way. But didn’t we all take PR to avoid math? Starting a job after college showed me how dynamic PR is, because you learn about your own industry while gaining insight into all of your clients’ fields. The beauty is you grow into a more well-rounded person without leaving your desk (well, mostly). Starting a job after college taught me to analyze each new client account from their perspective, then engage a plan. PR isn’t math, there is never one client formula, but all the possibilities is what makes it fun.
Keira Anderson, Vice President
I wish I had known the importance of diversifying before you specialize. When I was in college, I remember hearing that it doesn¹t really matter what area you start your career in, because you¹re young and can figure it out later. That¹s true in some respect, but only if you use that first position as a launch pad to, for example, try out another practice area or division or even another office. It¹s important to experiment with different fields and career paths early on, and speak up for what you want. Once you get more ingrained in your career, you start becoming an expert and it¹s a little harder to get new experiences (though not impossible!). The takeaway is to soak up as much as possible when you¹re first starting out to find your passion and set yourself up for success.
Kiley Hayward, Account Manager
What do I wish I knew after graduation? I wish knew more about the value of a mentor with fruit on their tree. I think one of the most beneficial things in any career and in life in general is a mentor who is elite at what they do. This is the best way to accomplish anything great in life – seek wisdom from people who have been there before and have what you want in every area of their life.