Workforce Skills: How to Prepare While Still in School

Brooklyn LutzToday’s guest post is from PR Program alumna Brooklyn Lutz, who comes to us all the way from Canada. 

Attending university has become a right of passage for many young Americans, as bachelor’s degrees are often viewed as the minimum requirement for getting a job. But are employers going to hire you just because you have a degree?

Whether students realize it or not, many of you are not taking full advantage of the time and money you are spending on education. Too many graduate with the degree but without the necessary skills required to succeed in the job force; skills as simple as problem solving, decision-making and the ability to prioritize and complete tasks on time.

So, whose problem is this to fix? While many may think it’s as simple as a curriculum update, the real answer is that only students have the power to find a solution. Here are a few ways you can help yourself:

  1. INTERNSHIPS: I cannot stress enough the importance of internships. Before securing my first job, I held three internship positions in my field, trying out multiple disciplines in public relations and beginning to learn the ins and outs of the industry. But what I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was beginning to learn things on my own, without the help of my professors. I learned time management and task prioritization, as my managers provided me with several projects to complete, confident that I’d complete them all on time, in the order deemed most important.

2. LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: While your course load can be demanding and time consuming, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take on at least one leadership position during your university career. Once you enter the workforce, even in the most entry-level positions, you’ll find yourself being fully accountable for projects, meaning you’ll be in charge of creating the timeline for completion and providing status updates. If you take a leadership role in organizations like PRSSA and IABC, you’ll be ahead of the game, as you’ll already have time management and decision making

Ready to produce result

  1. GROUP PROJECTS: Throughout your university life, you’ll participate in several group projects, so it’s important to take on a different role in each to help develop your team player skills. Once in the workforce, you’ll encounter opportunities to lead a project, support in a logistical role, develop strategies, provide counsel, and do the executing, so it’s important to have the necessary skills for each. In teams, problem solving, decision making and time management are all extremely important.

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  1. ASK QUESTIONS: Regardless of your position within a company, questions are the key currency. Possessing the ability to ask strategic questions will allow you to uncover imperative details related to your projects and illustrate to your leadership/management team that they can trust you to get a task done. Asking the right questions is the first step to problem solving and will get you that much closer to finding a recommended solution.

  Make sure you don’t become a statistic.

Brooklyn Lutz is a senior account executive on the client strategy team at Edelman Canada. Working as the day-to-day lead on her projects, she uses the skills she learned while in university to effectively manage projects and solve various issues brought to her attention. Brooklyn is a UCM PR graduate and a past president of the Robert L. Kendall PRSSA chapter. Here’s a short video of Brooklyn explaining PR for our students. 

About ucm_pr_program

PRSA certified program in undergraduate public relations education, with growth in graduate education
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