Know Your Clients

If you recently graduated and plan to pursue a career in communications, you are going into a profession where client service is crucial to success. One of the most important things you need to know before embarking on your journey in this industry is who your clients are.

You are your first client. You are the one applying for your dream jobs. You want to work with these companies. You are your personal spokesperson and publicist. Therefore, first and foremost, you should ensure that the way you show up in-person and online is truly reflective of your character, your authentic self, and in a way that showcases your professional expertise. Whether you’re talking to a potential or current employer, external stakeholder, supervisor, or colleague, always be yourself and put your best foot forward.

Be kind, be respectful, be professional, and be genuine. Show your skills. Master the act of talking about yourself, your achievements, your strengths, and whatever else makes you an asset to a company. Do your best work. Make sure your LinkedIn, resume, and overall online presence accurately reflects your professional skills and achievements. The goal is to make your value obvious to anyone who interacts with you.

Your current or future employer is your second client. After representing yourself, you are also a representation of the company you work for, an expectation all employers possess. This means prior to being hired for a job, complete significant research on the company and have a good understanding of the company culture, structure, and mission. This will help you articulate how and why you are a good fit.

Upon being hired in a communications role, take the time to gain a deeper understanding of your work environment. How it operates, what its needs are, and how you can play a role in adding value. Understand why your role matters to the overall success of the company. Learn about the interconnectivity of different departments within the firm. Take the time to broaden your horizon by networking within the firm to learn more about coworkers and the company.

An in-depth knowledge of the company will give you leverage in the performance of your duties and meeting the needs of both internal and external stakeholders.

Your company’s clients (external stakeholders) are your third client. A huge part of doing right by yourself and the company you work for is maintaining good client relationships. This means you need to be good with people. Be punctual and approachable. Be communicative and ensure the client is aware of what’s going on. Remember, it is important to know how to work with your team to manage client expectations and balance clients’ needs in line with company objectives. Communicate and collaborate with your team to produce high-quality work.

The goal of any business is to attract and retain clients in order to generate revenue. This can only happen when employees of the company maintain quality relationships with external clients by giving it their professional best to help the clients achieve set goals. If the client is happy, everyone wins.

You’re a Student for Life

You may have recently graduated, but you are still a student of life. A student of your craft for life. Continue improving your skills. Being dedicated to learning and self-education is imperative to personal and professional growth as well as continued success in any and everything you do. You should continuously be looking for opportunities for growth. Look for certifications you can earn, courses you can take, useful media content you can consume, and anything else that will help to sharpen your skills and improve your professional standing.

In addition to continuously learning new skills and self-improvement, fill your time with worthwhile pursuits while job-hunting. For example, take up freelancing work or a passion project. This will help you sharpen your skills in real-world settings while you continue looking for a more permanent position.

Being a communications professional means you are both a student and a practitioner at all times. It is your job to use what you’ve learned to your benefit and the benefit of the organization you work for but it’s also your job to be a lifelong learner. Being dedicated to self-education is important both for your professional development and to help you stand out in the job market. The more skilled and experienced you are, the more likely you are to get hired.

Summary: 5 Things Every Recent Grad Should Know

  1. Know your clients. – You have three clients: yourself, your employer, and external clients.
  2. You’re a student for life. – Always be committed to learning, growing, and improving professionally.

Next week we will share the three remaining things to know.

This is a three-part series written by Brandon Oliver, Marketing and Communications Management Consultant for LEVERAGE MIAMI.