Thursday, January 21, 2010

Useful and quick reading to guide your career

I’m not going to lie. I don’t read much. But after I won “Young Professional’s Guide to Success” by Ryan Kohnen from an online contest started by @rachelesterline I was excited to dive into this hardcover.

After I received the book in the mail Saturday and started reading it, I finished the 202 page book by Tuesday; it was a hard book to put down and here’s why:

#1: Short, sweet and to the point

Kohnen understands his audience, “Generation A.D.D.,” and sets his book up accordingly. With 16 short sections that offer career and development advice (all less than 20 pages), Kohnen introduces a topic such as “Establish Your Values,” relates it to an experience he’s had and then expands upon it with help from successful professionals.

#2: Different perspectives and variety in voice

At least half of the content is advice from CEOs and other business professionals to support Kohnen’s advice. Each section offers a new perspective from someone in a different industry, which not only makes the content relatable to a wide audience, but also helps to keep the tone fresh and interesting. The format also differs from section to section –lists, pull quotes and poems break up the text creating an easier reading environment.

#3: Useful and engaging content

Kohnen doesn’t hold back and addresses topics that are meaningful to young professionals. He isn’t afraid to discuss (and even admit that he fell victim to) the idea that many young professionals feel “entitled to have everything.” Other useful topics include: “Find Mentors and Create Fans,” “Lead From the Bottom” and “Attitude, Confidence and Passion.”

Overall “Young Professional’s Guide to Success” was easy and quick to read. I felt satisfied after reading it because of how encouraging it was to hear from so many different successful people. Senior executives, community leaders and CEOs all give their encouragement and bid of confidence to young professionals. Lastly, I enjoyed hearing the journey author Ryan Kohnen explains piece by piece throughout the book.

To learn more about Kohnen follow him @ryankohnen or get a copy of “Young Professional’s Guide to Success,” at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Networking events: attend and plan your purpose

Looking back at my four years of school, I wish I would have taken opportunities to go to local, regional and national networking conferences. I recently registered for Chicago PR: “Get in the Loop” regional PRSSA conference and am very excited and a little nervous to attend Feb. 11 and 12.

This two-day conference starts  Feb. 11 with a full day of Chicago public relations agency visits. Although I have a good sense that Chicago is an exciting place to work, it will definitely help to physically see the inside of potential future workplaces.

Friday features a complete lineup of intriguing workshops with themes like, "Getting in the Door with a Professional Image," "Standing out with Social Media" and "From The Front Lines: How Agencies and Clients Work Together." The day is capped off with a 90 minute career development fair. All for $60.

A great place to learn about upcoming conferences is the PRSSA Web site, which has a specific section for   upcoming events happening across the nation. I would also suggest contacting your local PRSA chapter and asking about  if they know of any upcoming events in the area.

If events are too expensive, consider attending a lunch meeting with your PRSA chapter. There will almost always be discounted rates for PRSSA members to attend these meetings. Bring a friend or two with and have a networking goal outlined before you go. Whether your goal is to get five business cards or just let professionals know you are looking for an opportunity, make sure you have a solid idea of your intended purpose of attending such an event. 

My purpose of attending the Chicago conference is to get a feel for the agency work environment, network and make connections with other students and ask for suggestions about job hunting from professionals. 

What conferences have you attended and how have you benefited from them? Do you have any suggestions on where to find such events?