Provo, UT – On Oct. 5 at the Maeser building on Brigham Young University campus, Public Relations Society of American (PRSA) chair-elect Jane Dvorak spoke to Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members of the BYU chapter and shared strategies to further progress their professional careers.
Dvorak is a highly esteemed individual in the public relations community, being the owner of her own PR agency JKD! & Company, Inc. and an active leader of PRSA. With over 30 years of experience, numerous job responsibilities and countless words of wisdom, Dvorak is deemed as the official guru of networking in the public relations field.
Dvorak’s message to PRSSA students centers around the theme of how to find the PR “sweet spot.” She explains the “sweet spot” to be the desired state or job of one’s professional career. It is a job that stirs excitement, utilizes one’s talents and offers respectable challenges.
She shares three tips on how to reach the “sweet spot”: become a problem solver, make personal investments and embrace all stages of life.
The PR expert emphasizes that this desired professional state is not magically achieved overnight but is a result of hungry perseverance, strategic practice and personal investment.
She advises students to not initially focus on getting their dream job — just get a job. Dvorak says, “Your first job should be about what you don’t want to do, not what you want to do.”
Paradoxically, this statement explains that gaining experience — despite if it’s what one wants to do or not — is the first step to reaching the “sweet spot.”
The following tips are Dvorak’s suggestions to help students reach their personal “sweet spot.”
Be a problem solver
Dvorak shares that it has been through her rocky experiences (e.g., having difficult managers, foreign tasks or unprecedented leadership roles) that she developed the necessary skills to reach her own “sweet spot.”
However, Dvorak explains that landing an internship or job requires more than an immaculate résumé full of experiences, but rather employers are looking for strategic communicators who are willing to be problem solvers.
As a hiring employer, Dvorak says, “We [employers] want to know your potential. We know you have plenty to bring to the table, but we want to see what you’re capable of beyond your résumé.”
Having the willingness to tactfully solve problems and readily handle the bumps of any PR job will prove to be the greatest skill one can demonstrate to their employer. By keen and determined qualities, students demonstrate enthusiasm, professionalism and dependability.
By developing and demonstrating these strategic skills to prospective employers, students are more likely to land jobs, excel in their career and are one step closer to finding the desirable “sweet spot.”
Invest in the becoming the best
Amongst these qualities, Dvorak expresses that investing in oneself is one of the greatest things students can do for themselves. By investing time, money and energy to appropriate causes, students can create opportunities for themselves that will undoubtedly give them an edge in their careers.
Dvorak explains that those who find the “sweet spot” aren’t lazily sitting around but are anxiously engaged in self-improvement. They are investing in opportunities and experiences that will boost their competencies and enrich their careers.
Investments can range as little as purchasing Adobe Suite tutorials to as large as attending the PRSSA National Conference. Regardless of the investment, students that take the time to develop and improve skills will naturally obtain an advantage in the competitive industry.
The Huffington Post expands on this principle and explains that when one invests in emotional, physical, spiritual and financial resources, they are working toward becoming the best version of themselves. In turn, when someone is actively working towards their potential, they are more successful and naturally become a magnet to others.
Along with personal investments, Dvorak stresses the importance of investing in people. Sometimes as individuals we get caught up in being “busy,” excusing ourselves from the personal responsibility to care for others. However, similar to investing in oneself, investing in others is vital to reaching the “sweet spot.”
Belonging to an industry that revolves around interpersonal relations, it is crucial to invest in someone besides yourself. True networking comes from helping others and building genuine friendships.
“We are all busy people,” Dvorak says, “but if you invest the time in others, they will invest back.”
Enjoy the ride
Lastly, Dvorak shares the key to finding the “sweet spot” is to simply embrace life. There is opportunity for growth and joy at every stage of one’s career; yet, it is the individual’s decision to absorb knowledge and use it for good.
Though working hard is a critical element to any form of success, appreciating the journey and letting life naturally unfold is the secret sauce to achieving dreams. Dvorak says, “When you simply let life happen, you’ll end up in the ‘sweet spot.’”
Dvorak’s playful demeanor and authentic advice demonstrates that she is not only an admirable leader, but a trusted confidant that PRSSA students admire and value.
BYU PRSSA president Travis Mortensen says, “Jane is so relatable because you know she cares for you. She’ll be straight forward with you, but you never doubt that she cares for you or wants you to succeed.”
Through these subtle yet powerful tips, students feel inspired and motivated to improve their PR skills and find their personal “sweet spot.” By acting on these insights PR students are able to strengthen skills, land internships and make lasting impressions in the industry.
Since a young age, I have been fascinated with the power of effective communication and strategic planning. Growing up in an entrepreneurial home, I have witnessed stumbles, triumphs and countless steps in between. I found those transitional steps to be greatest building blocks to my academic and professional career, as they have shown me that success isn’t given, it’s earned; victory isn’t spontaneous, it’s planned; and teamwork isn’t optional, it’s essential. I appreciate the public relations field as it enables me to pursue business aspirations through building and sustaining relationships with others, which I consider to be the most imperative purpose in my life. Since I have begun studying public relations, I consider my life to be one huge group project- full of plot-twists, rough drafts and awarding challenges- I couldn’t love it more.