Every year, a new crop of college grads enters the work force with little experience, but as a recent college graduate, I’ve found that certain skills and practices from my college life can be put to good use in a busy PR firm. I’ve boiled it down to four key “must-do’s” for the transition from student life to work life.
Take note! No, really, take notes. I was pretty good at keeping up with class notes, but working at Crenshaw Communications, I’ve found that carrying a notepad – even a small 5×8 one – comes in handy for keeping track of To Dos, How Tos, travel expenses, and relevant info from weekly meetings, among other things. We also have a practice of sending out daily To Do lists in the mornings so everyone is aware of what everyone else is working on.
Deadlines and commitments. Just like in school where it came down to dealing with multiple assignments for numerous courses and at least one extracurricular, forcing yourself (or your supervisor) to set deadlines smoothes the process for getting work done in a timely manner. The daily tasks I’ve taken up so far have solid deadlines that I’ve stuck to and structured my days around. I usually prioritize the time-sensitive projects and get them out of the way by the early afternoon, clearing the way for lower-ranking but still important tasks.
Own it. One major thing I learned in college was accepting my responsibilities! Here in the “real world”, if I’ve committed to completing media coverage by noon, even if a hundred other lesser tasks are sent my way, I know I have to get the top priorities done. Teamwork usually comes into play here, as we are encouraged to “share the wealth” of assignments to ensure that short term and long-term assignments are completed in an orderly fashion.
The upside of downtime. At work, just like in school, we all need a way to stay sane and level. No matter how hectic my demands get, I seize some downtime every day. What I’ve come to do is hybridize my downtime: I relax and trawl tech blogs for stories that interest me yet pertain in some way to some of the clients whose social media profiles we handle. And a little of my favorite music doesn’t hurt.
Got any practices from school that you’ve transferred to the office? Let us know in the comments section.