Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tips for Young Professionals on the Transition from College to the Cubicle

As a young professional, I’m always curious to hear guidance from employers and professionals in the industry. The article, What Graduates Aren’t Learning about Marketing at University, was interesting to me as it provides insight into what skills and qualities I should be focusing on at this point in my career. Angela Morsa, a fellow Temple University alumna and President of Active Integrated Marketing, wrote this article as a recap of her speech at the 30th Annual American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference on the topic of Success Strategies for Your Marketing Career.

While attending Temple University, I was very active in Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Through this organization I attended seminars and networking events on a regular basis. Because of my own motivation to be involved, I was exposed to helpful hints that many other students may not have known.

Morsa clearly points out that other college students are still not hearing crucial professional advice. Prior to presenting to the Generation Y students at the AMA Conference, Morsa consulted with a variety of employers on what advice they would give to students looking to join the work force.

These are some of the tips that Morsa passed along to her audience:

  • Good communication and writing skills are still the most important ability to be competitive in today’s world. Morsa warns students not to compromise good grammar and writing skills by relying on text and instant messaging shorthand. “LOL U R Too Cool” is not acceptable communication.
  • Today e-mail is an established vehicle of communication across many industries. E-mail should not be the primary tool students use to foster new relationships. Individual communication like face-to-face contact has become rare and telephone communication is taking a back seat to e-mail correspondence. Personal contact should be used when necessary to build those invaluable relationships.
  • Find a mentor. Early in your career you should be learning as much as you can from those that have come before you. Make an effort to be a “sponge” if you will and soak in valuable advice and learn from the mistakes of others. Reach out to those you admire, be involved in student organizations, and go to networking events. Maybe…even pick up the phone!
  • Clean up your online presence! This seems to have become a mantra among professionals and teachers today. I know they constantly told us this at Temple but many students still do not heed this crucial advice. Employers can and will find you online and use this information to judge you and your abilities.
  • Work toward becoming an expert. Find your niche and hone into that specialty. It is a crucial skill to have in today’s society that will set you apart.

And these two tips stood out most to me.

  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and learn from your mistakes. Be honest about your capabilities. Don’t promise what you can not deliver.
  • Travel the world. With new technology growing every minute, the world truly has become connected on many different levels.

    I am taking her advice and traveling to Madrid, Spain for nine months. Stay tuned for more details on my North American Language and Culture Assistant experience in Spain!

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