Now I Know… (AKA Advice for the Graduating Class – Part II)

They say hindsight is 20/20 and that all advice is autobiographical.  So, when we thought about offering tips to this year’s graduating class, in addition to considering some of our favorite tidbits, we asked our colleagues and contributors to share one success strategy based on their experiences:



What’s the one piece of advice you have to offer to new grads (knowing what you know now)?

Lindsey Pollak, author, “Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World,”@lindseypollak

My one piece of advice is not to feel that “grunt work” is beneath you. A lot of young job seekers today don’t want to “pay their dues” and they pass over or quit jobs that require some administrative work. In my experience, that work is a relatively easy way to show your commitment, attention to detail, good attitude, etc. and if you build a reputation as someone who gets things done (even the non-fun stuff), you’ll move up very quickly. The grunt work doesn’t last very long anyway and someday very soon you’ll be so grateful for the person who does it for you.


Shant Petrossian, Senior Editorial Producer, Piers Morgan Tonight

Call everyone you know. Ask around. Let people know you’re looking. Word of mouth and contacts are the best way to find a job.


Beth Thomas Cohen, partner, B’Squared Public Relations, @beththomascohen

Be one step ahead of your boss, think before they think, be proactive.  You will stand out in a crowd of many new graduates if you show a passion for what you are doing.  Show your department head that they can’t be without you, make it so they would not want anyone but you. Everyone is replaceable, so make sure you are a stand-out in all that you do.


Jayne Wallace, PR, Sprint Pre-Paid/Virgin Mobile, @prjayneny

Always ask prospective employers what their business goals are overall – regardless of what job you’re applying for — and talk about what you can offer the company more than just your experience.  Also, make sure your writing is impeccable – it makes a difference.


Sheila F. Munguia, president, P. Public Relations

Don’t get stuck at your first job! While I don’t encourage switching jobs often, I find that young people get so scared of not having a job that they won’t start to look for better opportunities when they need to. If you feel like you aren’t learning anymore, move on. It’s important to grow and work with different people so you can sharpen and develop your skill sets.


Anna Brand, Writing and Editing Professional,, @thebrandedgirl

Don’t try and fake your interests in a job interview. Not only is it transparent to the interviewer, but (if offered the position) you’ll regret taking on a role that limits your creativity and/or passion.


Katie Kirby, Senior Public Relations Manager, Beam Global Spirits & Wine

Never, ever burn a bridge or end a relationship on bad terms. PR is a very small business, and the longer you’re in it, the more likely you are to bump into former clients, co-workers and media. As I like to say: “Never pee in the pool, because you never know when you’ll have to get back in it.”


Tom Handley, professor, Parsons The New School For Design, @PRProfessor

One piece of advice, and this one goes out specifically to the public relations-focused graduates and/or those looking to work in the public relations field:  NO MORE COVER LETTERS !!!  (that said in voice of Joan Crawford in the film Mommie Dearest).

Instead, try using a pitch letter.  This is good for two reasons: #1 – it highlights your writing and formatting skills, and #2 – you’re demonstrating that you understand the industry by utilizing a basic, and oft used public relations tool.


Linda Descano, CEO of Women & Co., a program of Citibank,, @lindadescano

When I entered the workforce, I thought that success hinged on working hard, knowing the “numbers” and delivering great work. I didn’t appreciate how important negotiation, influencing and networking were to success. Fortunately, I learned this lesson fairly early in my career.  So, in addition to delivering great work and demonstrating integrity, keep your head and profile up, cultivate key relationships internally and externally, learn how to negotiate and influence, and keep your network vibrant.


Dan Schawbel, branding expert & author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, @danschawbel

Centralize all of your achievements and experiences on a website or blog and then as you grow in your career, keep it updated as much as possible. If all you’re using is a Microsoft Word resume, then your talents are being hidden on your desktop and not on the main stage (the internet) for the world to see.


Micah Jesse, “The Georgia Peach, In The Big Apple!”, @MicahJesse

“Dress for the job that you want, not the one you have.” – Thanks to my very good friend Leo Velasquez (who is also one of GRAMMY recording artist Usher’s stylists) I learned how important it is to always look your best. When you look your best, you will feel your best, and ultimately achieve the best results.


Adrianna Giuliani, Techromance blogger and SVP, Devries Public Relations, @adriannagiuls

“Don’t wait for a promotion.  If you want a new job or to move up, start doing the job that you want – and you’ll ultimately land it.”


Dana Fields Muldrow, public relations senior manager, @farrior

Passion is a huge part of the professional success equation.  While it may not happen right (hence being patient), finding and doing something you are passionate about will carry you a very long way.


Knowing what you know now, what other advice would YOU share with grads to help them start off on the right foot?  Post it here, Facebook or Twitter.


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