Several years ago, we had a news release writing assignment for homework in my “Principles of Public Relations” class at Curry College. It was a simple task, but I cautioned the students that spelling, grammar and punctuation would be THE most important part. Content, while obviously important, was secondary.
While most of the students turned in reasonably well-written releases, one person actually had a typo in the headline!
She earned the “F” that I had promised for shoddy work and was self-righteously incensed. “How dare you give me an ‘F’???”
I pointed to the misspelled word and asked, “What do you think would have happened if you gave this to your boss?”
“He would have fixed it for me,” she replied.
I won’t bore you with the details of the minor eruption on my part that followed. Just let the records show the “F” was confirmed.
I use this example in many of my Public Relations Concentration classes to drive home the fact that, especially in PR but also in other professions, attention to detail is crucial. “Someone else” is not going to fix your mistakes for you.
And, to play “got one better than that,” I recently had to send a warning to a student who had missed two classes in a row. His response was that his “alarm clock didn’t go off,” so he overslept.
The class starts at 11:30 a.m.!
We all have a lot of “stuff” going on, and sometimes it feels like the whole world is leaning over our shoulder poking and prodding.
College…and professional…life can be challenging, and the stakes are high as you prepare to either venture into the “real world” with your newly-minted diploma or embark on a crusade to climb higher on your career path.
The good news is that there are others who are standing by to lend a helping hand.
The not-so-good news (for some) is that those folks are not going to do your job for you.
You’re going to have to start the process. You’re going to have to do your homework on opportunities available to you, requirements to qualify for those opportunities, and steps to take in order to take advantage of those opportunities.
Your supporters will be on the sidelines cheering you on…offering advice…perhaps opening a door or two for you.
But they’re not going to proofread your hastily slapped together “resume” that’s chock-a-block filled with grammatical errors and kindergarten-level descriptions of your “experience.”
No. You are going to have to do the gruntwork. You are going to have to do the research on potential opportunities.
Then you can turn to your support network to ask for advice or for a final “did I miss anything?” proofread.
It’s not easy starting out or moving up in professional life. But it can be done, and you can succeed. But you have to take this bit of advice to heart.
Your success is your responsibility.