Here is a dirty little secret that will get some people mad at me.
I only very, very rarely hire people with PR degrees. Maybe that is dumb of me, but I don’t look for whether people know the basics of communications. After all, it is not rocket science.
What is rocket science is, well, rocket science. If you are trying to do communications for a company that sells rockets, you better know a lot about rockets.
I am lucky enough to be an American who lives in England working for a company headquartered in Finland, with people working on my team in 40-plus countries covering the 150 countries in which we work.
When I look at who is successful and who is not, it almost always comes down to who understands the business and who does not. It is never about who knows what journalist – that is usually the easy part, as journalists want information, and you control it.
So, my advice for career development? Forget the PR seminars. Focus on the business basics, so you can talk to your future executive peers. Understand a P&L and a balance sheet – and be able to explain both. Ensure you have a robust understanding of the market you want to work in – and what are the economic characteristics of that market.
Then, be sure you can both write and talk about it in ways that make it clear to others – not with spin or hype, but with facts Then, come talk to me – I might have a job for you!