How to Manage Your Career

By Brenda Lynch

As a Senior Partner at Finn Partners, adjunct professor at USC Annenberg for over 10 years, and strategic counsel for some of the top companies in the nation such as: eBay, Mattel, Nestle, and Red Bull, Brenda Lynch’s time in the workforce has given her valuable insight into successful career management. 

Professor Lynch teaches both graduate and undergraduate classes in Annenberg and recently presented career management advice to a class full of senior public relations students in their capstone course. The presentation included tips for every public relations student preparing for the working world. Professor Lynch heavily emphasized the concept that “You are the entrepreneur of your career and personal brand” and gave tactical advice on how to achieve that. 

In order to manage your career rather than just experience it, there are a few things that every aspiring Public Relations professional should keep in mind. 

  • Lynch’s top piece of advice is to focus on what you want to do and where you want to go in your career. 
  • Next, limit the number of objectives to be achieved. Get people to see that you can do a few things wonderfully, rather than do one hundred things subpar. 
  • Be a team player. Cultivate relationships with those you work with and for. This will make your work environment more productive for you and your team.
  • Learn to fix what’s broken fast. Know that you will always make mistakes, but when you do, it is vital that you fail and fail quickly, then learn from it and move on. 
  • It is your client who writes your paycheck. Make your client love you and you are bulletproof.
  • Finally, finish what you start. People will hate you if you’re the person who doesn’t finish what they start…so don’t be that person.

Remember that no one cares more about your career than you do so be prepared to show off your skillset. In order to successfully manage your career, Professor Lynch has provided two great tips to promote your work:

  1. If you want to be taken seriously for a promotion, you have to be prepared to show off your successes in the company. Try to think about your work accomplishments in terms of NEAR: Numbers, Examples, Achievements, and Results. We all have responsibilities. But the people who stand out talk about their responsibilities in terms of numbers, achievements, and results and they have examples to back it up. What numbers, examples, achievements, and results did you produce this year?
  2. Next, it is important to manage your work samples. You probably do a great project once per quarter and one that definitely meets the NEAR criteria. You know, a project or deliverable that you are super proud of that contributed to the success of the company. Take that work and store it in a special folder on your computer or in the cloud. Start curating your work so that you are prepared to vouch for yourself when being considered for a new job or in-house promotion.