There’s no better time to establish your reputation in the PR industry than the first years of your career.
Showing that you’re wise beyond your years prevents you from being pigeonholed as an inexperienced millennial and earns you the career mobility you deserve.
Here are seven qualities of millennial PR pros who are on top of their game:
1. They’re not afraid to fail big.
Failing sucks, but there’s a big difference between a typo in a social media post and a grand, cross-platform campaign idea of your own making that never quite takes off. Take risks, and managers will recognize you as a big-plan person when it comes time to assign projects and give promotions—regardless of whether your grand schemes have succeeded.
2. They make time to recharge.
One of millennials’ biggest advantages over other generations is their amenability to working on weekends, answering emails after midnight and staying in the office until after the janitors have arrived.
The problem with being constantly connected is obvious. Everyone needs time to recharge, and your career is a marathon, not a sprint. The best young employees can determine when burning the midnight oil is advantageous, or when it’s just going to burn them out.
3. They’re comfortable with not getting feedback.
Many young employees have a hard time adjusting to the sheer lack of feedback most employers provide. Time is valuable, and feedback too often results from the goofs that you’ve made, whereas your accomplishments go overlooked. The best millennial employees not only take criticism as a way to better themselves, but they’re also content with not being praised for every media placement, successful Facebook update or popular blog post they produce.
However, millennials should also be wary of managers who never provide positive feedback, over the course of months or a year. A sustained lack of praise might signal that it’s time to pack your bags.
4. They take upper management’s actions with a grain of salt.
In college, one can be fairly sure that the professors have the necessary credentials to teach high-level subjects. There is no credential required to practice PR, and promotions up the chain of command are often based on experience, rather than on managerial skill. One result is that 69 percent of managers don’t like to communicate with their staff.
Instead of resenting executives for poor decisions or lack of communication, the most well-adjusted employees don’t hold their managers to the heroic standards of their college profs but, instead, look for better ways to connect with the powers that be.
5. They take initiative.
Your boss loves giving orders probably as much as you love taking them. The more often you can suggest improvements to your corner of the organization rather than waiting to be told what to do, the better. A good rule of thumb is never to communicate a problem to a manager without also suggesting a solution. Another tip: When making suggestions, phrase them in a yes-or-no fashion so your busy manager can respond without too much effort.
6. They communicate problems early and often.
Talking about problems may feel like an admission of failure, but it’s actually a good insurance policy for managing your team’s expectations.
If a client isn’t returning phone calls and you’re missing deadlines because of it, strategically reminding your team can be the difference between taking the fall for the inevitable disaster and getting the resources you need to prevent it.
7. They’re comfortable with face-to-face interaction. It’s easy to get too comfortable with purely digital communications. Emails are convenient, and they don’t demand your immediate attention, as would a phone call or a colleague’s drop-by.
That’s why 64 percent of journalists prefer email follow-ups to pitches. The day will come, though, when a communication is too urgent or too important to put in an email. The best young PR pros have no qualms about approaching a co-worker, schmoozing with clients or pitching an idea to upper management in a non-digital setting.
This article first ran on PR Daily in 2016.
Carlin Twedt is the marketing and social media manager at Ragan Communications. You can connect with him on Twitter at @Carl_In_Tweets.