Advice for PR graduates

22 May

Take note: Harold Burson gives his advice on ‘how to get on in a consultancy career’. In summary:

  • Networking is the most important activity you can undertake
  • Team working is essential
  • Never cease working to become a better writer and more effective speaker
  • Develop as broad a knowledge base as possible

I feel that our course directly addresses the first three points, but I worry about the last one. As Burson points out, wide reading used to be the evidence of an enquiring mind. Now, with wikipedia just a click away, everyone can gain a little learning with little effort. So why bother with the hard work?

That said, there’s more than ever before for young people to know. An ability to select what to focus on (ignoring the rest) is another important skill in business.

3 Responses to “Advice for PR graduates”

  1. David Brain 22/05/2007 at 11:14 am #

    Richard. I was lucky enough to work at Burson and met Harold a few years ago and I’ve always thought he had a great perspective on the industry. Just like our own Dan Edelman, it is good to see he still goes to work too. I wondered also if you had come across the views of Sir Ken Robinson on the subject of creativity and education? I posted a video of a talk he gave a year or so ago and I think it has relevence to our industry and was hoping to get the views of some people more qualified than I on the education of PR folk. What do you make of his points?

  2. Richard Bailey 22/05/2007 at 9:43 pm #

    Thank you for that link, David.
    I admire his style: the presentation skills of a stand-up comedian.
    I also agree with his message. There is too much focus on linear, rational approaches to education/management – and not enough on emotion and unpredictability. But the recent book by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity (Life’s a Pitch) also made this point with force and flair.

  3. Robert French 27/05/2007 at 5:31 am #

    Good post, as usual, Richard.
    The broad knowledge base issue is a difficult one, I agree. Too many distractions, too easily available, for today’s students.
    For instance, I encourage reading on a wide variety of topics. For PR concerns, I get access to PR trade publications and give them to the students. Without an assignment, like a test on readings, they too often do not take advantage of the opportunity.
    Well, the best ones do. But we want success for all of them. So, I still yearn for successful strategies to encourage development of a worldy view.
    As for Wikipedia, if a student chooses to reference Wikipedia in anything written for class, I require three citations of other resources to assure it is correct information.
    Wikipedia, although begun by an Auburn graduate (Jimmy Wales), is not a trustworthy reference. I don’t care what anyone says, as long as their current editorial policy exists – it is not reliable.

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