The Best Career Advice for Communicators


While attending a luncheon some years ago to celebrate the release of Tom Wolfe’s book, “A Man in Full,” the author was asked to share some career advice for people who work in the media.

“Never say 'never' and never say 'always,'” said Wolfe, who also wrote “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “The Right Stuff.”

But there are exceptions to every rule, er, piece of career advice, even if it comes from an author who helped to pioneer so-called New Journalism.

We thought of Wolfe’s career advice after collecting nearly three dozen responses to an informal poll we ran on our Facebook page asking, What's the best career advice you were given?

Farris Rookstool III said: “Always tell the truth and have convictions!” while Rebekah Johnson chimed in: Always take chances when they come your way.”

Meanwhile, Charvett B said, “Always send a thank you!!!”

These are just a few examples of how to use the term “always,” which we can subscribe to when it comes to improving the lot of communicators.

There were some other chestnuts that we could gather around, as well, in terms of solid career advice for PR professionals.

Nicole Cheeks Kegler said: “As a manager, it is a big part of your job to mentor your team and help them grow professionally. If you are not doing this, you are not a manage.”

And, in a post that Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg could appreciate it, Holly Perez advised: “Don't let a degree dictate what you can do!”

The list features advice for most every level of PR. Here are all the responses:


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Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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