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When I joined FischTank PR almost two years ago, I always showed appreciation and gratitude to my alma mater, Kean University for helping me get my career figured out and the opportunity for a full time position.

This week, it was all able to come full circle as my colleague Matt Bretzius and I spoke with a group of students and members of the Kean University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). When I attended Kean, I was President of the PRSSA chapter and was able to lead a group of young, hungry PR professionals to activities and events that helped set their careers up after they graduate. 

Matt and I spoke to students this week in a similar position to where I was in my career and life four years ago. What I saw were young adults, eager to soak in as much information as possible about the industry and life they will be leading once they graduate. Here are some of the relevant takeaways I had from our Q and A discussion:

Stay Persistent, in this industry and in life: 

If you don’t know my career story, it wasn’t fun early on. I had all of the accolades in college with good grades and extracurriculars on my resume but it took me a while to find a full time job that fit. I spoke to Eric Fischgrund, founder of FischTank, one year before I got hired. I stayed on the job hunt for two years working part time jobs before reconnecting with Eric when there was a position open at the Tank – the rest is history! Lesson is, if you really want something for your career and believe you belong somewhere, keep pushing until you get to where you want to be and never let anyone discourage you from doing something you want to do, no matter how long it takes. A poet might say “Through every dark night, there’s a brighter day.” 

Your attitude determines your latitude:

What’s that quote? “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” When I first started at FischTank, I didn’t have the same experience level as some of the people I graduated college with but I was willing and motivated to learn and grow right from the start. When you are open to trying new things and are a fast learner, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! In this industry, if you are unfamiliar with something when entering the workforce, be honest! You are not required to know everything when starting your first job, but if you are willing to be honest and understand what you need improvement on, you can pick things up quickly. Besides, it looks a lot better if you learn something you didn’t know rather than lying about your experience level in your interview. 

It’s all about Communication and Relationships:

In our discussion, we touched on some of the most important parts of our job and being successful in what we do and it always came back to communicating and building relationships. Whether it’s co-existing with your co-workers or building a trusted relationship with the media, it all comes down to keeping a fluid line of communication and being a genuine human being. We must remember that no matter how many times our forms of communication change, whether it’s through Zoom, email, social media or the old-fashioned way of speaking in person (ew), we are all humans first.  We all want to relate and communicate ideas and stories to each other and that is what determines the success of our jobs. Remember the R in PR still stands for Relations!

Speaking with students from my alma mater this week was gratifying, as it felt great to give back to the place that helped me figure out my career and life’s path. Being able to mentor and answer questions for students who may be going through similar experiences I went through was a full circle moment. Even if I can’t change the world myself, I hope my experiences can help inspire others to change the world!


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Michael Canova

Michael Canova is an Account Executive at FischTank PR.

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