By Kelly Hall

Speaking on the IABC Minnesota’s Meet the Pros event panel was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my career path and offer advice to college students interested in careers in communications. Not too long ago, I was in their same shoes and experienced the same emotions that they are currently experiencing. With hard work, persistence and dedication, the sky can be the limit! Here are two main tips for success that I’d like to share:

One of my favorite mentors once told me, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” This advice can serve as a guideline when seeking new experiences in any field.

I found it to be particularly helpful when I started my career in journalism after graduating from college. While working at NBCUniversal, I reached out to dozens of other professionals within the company and asked if they’d be willing to meet me for an informational discussion. These were always wonderful opportunities to introduce myself and discuss my career goals, while also gaining knowledge of that specific individual’s career path. Prior to scheduling an informational meeting, make sure to do your homework so that you can be the most prepared for your conversation. Be considerate of the generosity that this person is extending to you. Often times, they may be taking time out of what is most likely a busy day to help guide you in your career pursuits.

Here’s how to prepare: Have a list of questions that you’d like to ask and be open to constructive criticism. For instance, ask for recommendations on how you can improve your resume and ways they’d suggest that you embark upon advancing in your field. While in the informational session, don’t be afraid to ask for names of others who may potentially offer additional career guidance. You never know what doors those additional contacts may help open!

Be open to new opportunities
Another important piece of advice is to never shy away from opportunities that will present you with ways to develop current skills and acquire new skills. I truly believe it is important to always learn and challenge yourself to new career possibilities in order to reach your highest level of success.

I learned this firsthand when I initially began a career in journalism. I was responsible for creating my own news stories from beginning to end. This meant shooting my own video, and writing and editing stories. While challenging, this experience allowed me to acquire and develop the necessary skills to perform my job successfully. When I transitioned into my role as a Public Relations Director for a local school system, I was able to utilize these same skills and apply them toward writing and creating videos to rebrand the school district. In my current role as Content Creator at 3M, I am able to combine both my journalism and public relations skills while representing the brand team. The skills that I fostered in my previous positions provided me with the confidence and ability to excel in my current role.

By embracing unique opportunities, you can acquire insight into various aspects of the communications industry. This can open your eyes to new career possibilities that allow you to expand on the work you enjoy most. Or, in some cases, you may realize the skills you are currently building can be used in different ways.

Kelly Hall was a panelist at IABC Minnesota’s Meet the Pros event in October. She is currently a Content Creator for the Corporate Brand Team at 3M.