All You Really Need to Know You (Did Not) Learn In College

College. The place that you spend four (more or less) years learning, studying and cramming so that, one day, you can get a job in the career field of your dreams. While college does prepare you for a lot of things that happen in the real world there are some things that they miss. Here are four things that will put you ahead on your first day in the public relations field.

Email Etiquette – When you’re in college, professors put a lot of emphasis on how to make yourself appear as professional as possible. Somewhere along the way students start to think that all communication in the professional world is ridged and formal. In reality, email tends to be much more casual and friendly which can give some newly minted professionals problems. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be as polite as possible but this can come across as fake or cold. A helpful way to avoid this is to read emails out loud before sending. If it doesn’t sound conversational when spoken, it won’t sound conversational when read either.

Business Cards – Business cards are not something that you have much use for in college or at an internship. This can make it tricky as you enter the professional world to know when to hand yours out. A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, whip it out. It can only help you to make a lasting impression if the person you were talking with has a way to contact you in the future. Events are a great place to network so make sure you plan ahead and bring extra business cards.

Cutting Through the Clutter – College classes spend a lot of time focusing on “best practices” and studying well-known examples of success. Professors want to teach their students the most effective way to do their future jobs. However, in practice sometimes the most effective way to get a job done is by thinking differently. For example, journalists receive countless pitch emails everyday. The number of phone call pitches they get per day however, is significantly lower. Picking up the phone to call creates a better opportunity for your content to be remembered. By looking for ways to cut through the clutter you will increase the probability of separating your message from the rest.

Social Media – College students are extremely familiar with using social media to post tailgating pictures and selfies. Once you get into the real world however, you quickly learn that social media channels are really just giant ad platforms. Learning how to craft a post that balances your brands message with the content your audience finds engaging is one key to success along with targeting your posts to the right audience. With so much user data available through the social platforms it is important to take advantage and ensure that you’re maximizing your posts’ potential.

The transition from college to career can be a scary one but hopefully these tips make you feel a bit more prepared. For more follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.