A new year and a new semester are upon us; some students will make resolutions to clean out their closets, exercise more or improve their grades. If you are anything like me, you are terrible at keeping New Year’s resolutions. However, the idea of making one that will allow me to better myself as a professional is tempting. As aspiring public relations practitioners, it is imperative that we are always continuing our knowledge in our respective field. Here are my five resolutions for the new year and the new semester:
Become a LinkedIn all-star
By utilizing your LinkedIn profile, you can show off your professional skills to potential employers and contacts. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for aspiring professionals on many levels: networking, promoting and learning. Completing your profile to the fullest can open new doors for aspiring professionals.
Read industry blogs consistently
Reading blogs pertaining to your respective field is a great professional development activity that can be completed every day. It only takes a few minutes to read the top story from prdaily.com each morning – it will expand your knowledge in various areas of your profession. Reading industry blogs can also provide you with up-to-date information about the field that can be talking points for networking opportunities.
Practice professionalism on social media
Everyone likes posting their lives on social media, but not everything that we do should end up on your Facebook or Twitter feed. I am a strong believer in the saying “if your grandma wouldn’t like it, then it shouldn’t be on social media.” Employers are beginning to look at potential employees’ social media pages – which is leading to different hiring decisions. Employers would rather see shared posts of industry news or topics that you are interested in, rather than pictures of the party you attended last weekend.
Work on your writing skills daily
Writing is one of the foundations of our industry. Enhancing your writing skills is one of the best ways to make you more marketable. Whenever opportunities present themselves for you to write, take them: whether it is creative, informational or factual, anything improves your skill. By practicing this trade, you are creating a more professional persona for yourself and building your portfolio.
Find a mentor
Mentors can serve as great stepping-stones into the industry. They can introduce you to contacts, provide feedback on work and extend their knowledge to you about their specific field. Mentors are one of the greatest assets an aspiring professional can have. My advice is to reach out to someone in the industry you admire or has a job that interests you. Most professionals love when students reach out them because it shows the growth and expansion of the field we all love and have passion for.
Resolutions can be hard to stick to, but these goals will only help you grow your professionalism. Follow these resolutions to become a better practitioner and a more marketable pre-professional – future employers will thank you. I plan to utilize these resolutions each day – are you up for the challenge?
Natalie Gloady is a current junior at Waynesburg University, where she is majoring in public relations and sports information, while minoring in Spanish. She serves as the public relations director for WUPRSSA and as an assistant firm director for Red Brick Communications. Natalie hopes to pursue a job in the sports industry or as a social media coordinator post graduation. Follow her on Twitter or connect with Natalie on LinkedIn.