As anyone starting out in their careers in public relations, trying to work their way up the ladder or looking to make a change knows, success depends as much on people’s willingness to open doors as it does finding doors to knock on.
This was the gist of some farewell remarks I summarised in a post here as I was making a transition from one career stage to the next; I have been a serial beneficiary of the generosity and confidence of others willing to show, encourage and sometimes push me through one door to the next.
Lots has been written on how to cultivate networks of professionals to begin or advance your career in public relations. Not much to add here, other than to repeat what we should all know: with social media, it’s never been simpler to identify and engage with those in a position to help or encourage our aspirations. My inbox and social feeds are inundated with evidence that most people understand this concept well.
So this is not a post for the door-knockers, specifically, but some thoughts for the door-openers (spoiler alert: that’s all of us):
- At some point in your career, you need to spend as much time opening doors for others as you do looking for the next opportunity for yourself. I would argue this point is now, wherever you are in your career.
- Opening a door doesn’t have to mean offering a job or a promotion. For those outside your organization, it’s often as easy making an introduction or simply responding to a post or inquiry with an encouraging word. And inside, it’s about helping identify possibilities and the steps needed to realise them.
- Doors can be opened beyond your organisation or agency. I often suggest joining an association like the PRCA or simply being more active on social media.
- The more advanced you are in your career, the harder it is for others to ask for your help. Make it easy. “What’s next for you, and how can I help?”
- Take a moment occasionally to thank those who’ve opened doors for you in the past. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. They’ll be glad to know they’re appreciated, and you’ll be reminded of those who helped pave the way for you.
Article written by David Gallagher, president, growth and development, international at Omnicom Public Relations Group
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