I’ve got this cute green T-Shirt that says: “We put the PR in professional.” Provided by the Florida Public Relations Association Tallahassee student chapter, the shirt’s message is succinct. Clever. Oh so PR.
I wear it often. Why not? I’m proud to be an FPRA member. An aspiring PR pro. A professional student. But what does it mean for students to be “professional”? To listen more than we speak? To ask questions more than we answer them?
I feel as though I’m in an odd limbo state. In class, I’m strictly a student, expected to study for and complete assignments that will prepare me for the professional world. But then other days at work, it’s the real deal. I’m responsible for the successful implementation of client projects; an “A” is not the ultimate goal.
So how can students demonstrate professionalism to future employers? How can we be professional before we’re even professionals?
I think Buzz Lightyear hit it on the nail…yes I’m referring to the eccentric space character from Toy Story. Think about it – can’t we all benefit from going to infinity and beyond?
Singers need the “it” factor. But PR students need the Above and Beyond Factor. We need to prove that we see past a semester. That we’re dedicated to learning outside the classroom. That we won’t just stop at the bare minimum.
Does the world of PR end at 5 p.m. everyday? Absolutely not. And while it’s important to find “you” time to maintain a healthy work/life balance, it’s equally important for students and young professionals to get the job done right. Even if it requires a little extra effort or time.
Students are jumping into the industry for the first time. We should be more eager than anyone else. We haven’t had time to burn out yet. So if you’re already sick of the minimum, what are employers and clients going to think?
Bitterness and entitlement are easy. SO EASY. But they are also completely unproductive and damaging. Last week, @ValerieSimon provided 8 tips on climbing the corporate ladder. Do you think she made it to a senior vice president position by slacking? Nope. She worked for it.
Find out what makes you passionate and pursue it with all you’ve got. I’m not going to preach about having clean Facebook profiles and appropriate work attire (although you should) in order to be professional. Simply pick up a copy of Toy Story and watch what can happen as the result of true dedication.
Are you prepared to go to infinity and beyond in your career?