Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goal setting: founding and following my PR path

Looking back on four years of college, I now understand the power of setting goals. Yes, goal setting is empowering. When I was young, I kept things pretty simple in the goal-setting category. After being accepted to the University Honors program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, I immediately set my sights up graduating with a GPA of 3.5 or above. This number is the cutoff criteria for graduation from the program, so it seemed like a great baseline.

I wrote this goal down and began my mission. Each and every academic step I took and decision I made reflected this goal. Some classes I knew my highest potential was a B, others I knew I was slacking if I didn’t get an A; but each end-of-semester grade report exposed my measuring stick and told me how I was doing.

My next big goal became clearer as I progressed on the path of becoming a young PR professional and demanded more out of myself. After being cemented at three different PR internships, I set my sights on the best. My goal was to land a PR internship at a world-leading, prestigious and global public relations agency. Heck, look back at one of my first posts at on the PR path.

Landing an internship at Burson-Marsteller, a top ten PR agency worldwide, was my ultimate goal. I got to the final stages of the long interview process in 2009, only to be rejected due budget shortfalls. I could have pouted or been mad, but I used the rejection as a motivator to continue working toward my goal.

Landing an internship with Burson became my mission, my goal and my passion. I set up Google alerts to follow the company every day, and constantly brainstormed ideas for how my application might stand out from the 800 other young PR professionals who applied.

A year later in 2010, I applied and was accepted into the program. I start June 7 in Chicago’s public affairs practice. What an amazing feeling to follow a goal, dedicate yourself to making it happen and realizing that goal. Fulfilling goals is a feeling unlike any other and just when you think a goal might be out of your reach, it may just be closer than ever. Set goals, work hard and never doubt your determination. By the way, I did graduate with above a 3.5 GPA, checking off another goal on my professional pursuits.

What goal-setting success stories have you had on your path to becoming a young PR professional? Please share!


AnWiech said...

I had very similar goals, Shane. Great minds think alike.

My Freshman year of college, my GPA was alright but it wasn't up to the standard that I had set for myself. I told myself that when I walked across the stage, I wanted to be wearing honor cords. At WLC, the lowest GPA you can have and still receive an honor cord is 3.6. I was happy to achieve that goal with some room to spare.

One of my other goals was to graduate without having any loans beside subsidized stafford loans. Paying my own way through a private college, this goal was a little more tricky. I worked hard throughout college both in and outside the classroom. I took a heavy class load and was smart with my choices in hopes of graduating a semester early. Thankfully, I had some pretty sweet job through college and learned I was really good at waiting tables and connecting with my customers. Long story short, I graduated early with the least amount of debt that I thought was physically possible.

Also, during the start of my Sophomore year, I came across Comet Branding. This was right around that time that I decided to add a Communications major and was researching PR as a future profession. From here, I was able to follow Al and Sara on twitter and make that initial positive first impression. I kept myself in their radar and made it known that I was interested in their brand and would be honored to be a part of it. After helping out with a client of theirs, I was invited to interview and received a job offer within a month of my culmination of college.

Honestly, setting goals at the start of college motivated me to strive for more. Through hard work, I met my goals and I believe current and future employers admire that trait.

Andrew Wiech

Shane Arman said...

Andrew -

Awesome story; You are right, great minds think alike! I'm sure it was very hard to limit your debt, especially at a private school so props to you on that achievement.

I agree that employers admire goal setting because it shows you are focused and in tune with the future.

And, you also hit the main reason that I enjoy setting goals and I'm sure why lots of people do. The motivation to prove to yourself or whoever else that you can accomplish something.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by Andrew.

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Stephan White said...

I agree that employers admire goal setting because it shows you are focused and in tune with the future.

Public Relations

Alicia Austin said...

Great story! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm looking at PR in Salem MA. We'll see...

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