Why being thankful is important for your career

I have a two and a half year old son who I don’t often write about on this blog.  He is a joy – this morning he stood looking in wonder at our town’s Christmas tree in the market square and was totally awestruck.  It is amazing to watch someone discover the world for the first time. When he first starting speaking – not that long ago – the first words we taught him were ‘mummy’, ‘daddy’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘hello’, ‘bye’, ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’.  At two and a half, he is very good at saying thank you.  Sadly many adults are not quite as polite.

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA.  The vast majority of Americans spent the day with their families, watching (American) football, eating turkey and pumpkin pie and giving thanks for all the things they’re grateful for.  Tomorrow is Black Friday and many Americans will be out buying Christmas presents for their loved ones in a frenzy of bargain hunting.  It appears that the Black Friday tradition has made its way over to the UK, but rather sadly we’ve not yet adopted the giving thanks part of the holiday.

We have harvest festival, which some say is where Thanksgiving originates from, but no one seems to celebrate it these days. When I was a kid, everyone took shoe boxes of food into school to give to the poor and needy and at church on Sunday we’d lay vegetables at the alter to thank God for giving us a bountiful harvest.  We said thank you and felt good about it.

It’s a pity that a holiday which celebrates being thankful and grateful is not more widely adopted here, but even more of a shame is that the act of giving thanks is slipping out of every day life.

This month, the latest batch of graduate trainees finished their 10-week training programme with the Taylor Bennett Foundation. One of the very last things we ask them to do is to write to all the people who have helped to guide and support them during their time with us and some of the letters were very touching.  Today one of the recipients of those letters emailed me to say what a nice touch it was to receive a thank you in the post.

The fact that it was such a surprising thing for him to receive is a shame, I think.

Lots of people ask me for career advice. I can spend considerable amounts of time helping them think about a suitable career path and draft a decent CV or cover letter only to never receive a thank you and, sometimes, to never hear from them again or worse, to only hear from them again if they want something else from me.  I often wonder if they have the same approach with everyone they meet, in which case they will burn bridges fairly quickly. 

Saying thank you is an important part of your career building.  Networking is not just about meeting new people, it’s about building those relationships and keeping them going – that’s the hard part – and thank yous are a really easy way to do that.  As saying thank you properly is apparently so rare, it will also make you stand out as the person who is suitably grateful for someone’s time and effort but more than that, it’s the polite thing to do – just ask my two and a half year old.


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49 Great PR People on Twitter Chosen by Graduates

twitterHot on the heels of my 50 PR Blogs Chosen By Graduates blog post, I asked the current batch of Tayor Bennett Foundation trainees to each list their ten favourite PR people on Twitter.  Links to the grads’ Twitter accounts and blogs with their reasons for their choices are below, followed by the full list (which you can follow here).  I gave them free reign, so absolutely no guidance in terms of who I rate on Twitter.  There’s also this handy list of PR influencers by Lissted – which I also didn’t tell them about before they put their lists together.

Interestingly in this and both the PR blogs list, there are few geographical boundaries.  The PR practitioners chosen are based not only in the UK, where the graduates are, but also North America, Australia and Asia.  Perhaps a sign that entry-level pracitioners don’t care where you are if you have something interesting to say, and that they already value global opinion and ideas.

By the way, these six (really fabulous) graduates leave the Foundation’s PR training programme in mid-November and are about to start job hunting so if you need bright, well-trained grads to join your PR agency or in-house comms team give me a shout.

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50 PR Blogs Chosen By Graduates

Recently I asked the Taylor Bennett Foundation PR trainees to pick their favourite PR blogs and this is the list they came up with – all worth checking out especially if you’re just about to embark on your first PR job, but even if you’re a seasoned PR practitioner.

There were 8 grads and they chose 10 blogs each – some overlapped bringing the final total down to 50.

Tofayal – interning at Cohn & Wolfe (here’s the reasons for his 10 choices)
Sheeraz- now working at Perception PR
Raz – now working as a media planner at Nickelodeon
Hannah- recently interned at Bell Pottinger
Kerrie – interning at Luther Pendragon
Pritpal – now working at MHP Communications (here’s the reasons for his 10 choices)
Ndela – now working in comms at One Housing Group
Kiran – now working in comms at Royal London Group

In no particular order:

  1. CIPR Conversation
  2. Jon Silk Dot Com
  3. Global Health PR
  4. PR in your pajamas
  5. Agnes Day
  6. Holmes Report Blog
  7. Ishmael’s Corner
  8. The Measurement Standard
  9. MHP Health
  10. Stephen Waddington
  11. NevilleHobson.com
  12. That PR Dude
  13. Iliyana’s Blog
  14. Mark My Words
  15. A PR Guy’s Musings
  16. The Dan Slee Blog
  17. PR Studies
  18. Brian Solis
  19. Bad Pitch Blog
  20. Omnirambles
  21. Beyond PR
  22. PR Squared
  23. Danny Brown
  24. 6 A.M.
  25. Social Media Explorer
  26. Journalistics
  27. Spin Sucks
  28. Peter Shankman
  29. Jason Falls
  30. TopRank Blog
  31. PR couture
  32. The PR Week Blog
  33. Houston PR
  34. PR Examples
  35. Ronn Torrosian
  36. NYC PR Girls
  37. The Red Rocket
  38. Raising the Profile
  39. Delightful Communications Blog
  40. The PR Life
  41. Social #PRChat
  42. PR Breakfast Club
  43. Jessica Lawlor
  44. Green Banana
  45. Maxtb.com
  46. Simon Wakeman
  47. KoiFish
  48. PR Daily
  49. PR Newser
  50. LinkedIn Influencer Blogs



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Mumsnet Academy – How to find a job and a CV masterclass


In September I’m going to be delivering a couple of careers guidance courses for Mumsnet Academy with Heather McGreagor, aka Mrs Moneypenny, in London.  I’m really excited about these, not least because those people who sign up will be really keen to make the most of our advice and put our guidance into action.

On Thursday 18th September it’ll be a CV masterclass  Continue reading

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How to describe your job on your CV

I see a lot of CVs and the thing that most people struggle with is being detailed enough about what they do in their current job.  The job you’re doing at the moment, particularly if you’ve been doing it for several years, is what’s going to get you your next job so it’s important you let future employers know exactly what you do so they can get a good picture of what you’re capable of.  Continue reading

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Stephen Waddington – Brand Vandals

I stumbled across this lecture by Stephen Waddington from last year and it’s worth checking out whether you’re looking to start your career in PR or whether you’re a seasoned practitioner.  He explores the impact of social media across business, practice and academia.

Also, take note of his advice right at the start of this video – if you want to work in PR, write a blog.

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Infographic: How to get a job in PR

I’m a fan of infographics. They may be a bit old hat these days but I think they can be a really striking way of presenting information. I had a bash at doing one for ‘How To Get A Job In PR’ and this is the result. It’s surprisingly hard to get across the tone and content of a whole book in one infographic!

Click the image to enlarge.

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