Graduation pics, accolades—and some pretty remarkable messages have filled my social media timelines for the last month.  I always like to pause and reflect this time of year as it’s the time of greatest opportunity for those leaving the halls of education to determine their next play in career and life.

Keeping tabs with college groups is of great importance to me personally and professionally. At Airfoil we’re always mining for really remarkable talent.  It also a personal mission to stay current on the ways that the next generation of communicators are viewing our field and transformations in business. 

With this in mind, I recently served on a panel for PRSSA’s West Conference “Sincerely, PR.”  On a simply beach-perfect Saturday (even by Bay Area standards, it was a beautiful day), here I met hundreds of students, dressed to the nines and armed with really fantastic questions, scenarios and insights.  Joined by my panelists from Logitech, Airplane Social, Trainer Communications and the Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center, we addressed questions ranging from clean tech regulation communications to the best ways of presenting relevant intern/college project experience on LinkedIn.

As I canvassed the attendees, I couldn’t help but think about what we as people who’ve been in the profession for some time can best express to these eager pros – and vice versa.  I thought about shifts in millennial media consumption – largely eschewing traditional advertising and even mainstream media for streamed or premium content and having remarkably less cable subscriptions then the entirety of American households (source Boston Consulting Group.)    A very tactical idea came to mind – can a millennial successfully pitch the Today Show if he or she has never even seen the Today Show?  Does the same relate to me in terms of a successful iBeacon or Snapchat engagement?

What I can conclude today is that with a symbiotic relationship of traditional communications know-how coupled with Millennial insights – a winning combination is borne.

I brainstormed with a few colleagues on this winning combination and the strengths we should consider drawing most from – here is where we landed.  Curious about further comments at each spectrum.


What can graduates learn from traditional PR                 

  • Business etiquette                                                   
  • Time management                                                        
  • How to present yourself, your organization                        
  • Create business impact metrics and strategy                   
  • Contributing to company vision and leadership
  • How to fail and pick yourself back up

What can we learn from you

  • Compelling content generation for digital platforms
  • Best time, place and approaches for product 
  • Challenge ideas
  • How to take risks


A few final tips for freshly minted grads seeking a simply great professional experience

Employers look beyond tangible educational skills to the intangible elements – often referred to as emotional intelligence.  Let your passion and confidence shine.

Be thoroughly read about your potential employer.

The interview process is a two-way street.  Have ready the questions you need answered in terms of the culture of an organization, its leadership, its passion and focus.

Understand that your social profiles are reflective of your own passion and interests; use these to exhibit the diversity of your experience.  Have a LinkedIn profile?  Go one step forward and build a college campaign into a SlideShare presentation.

Consider ways or intern to connect and amplify your knowledge and interests – canvassing LinkedIn provides you valuable insights from top business influencers in one convenient place.  Connect directly, comment, like, share.