Unconventional Advice: An Interview with Julie C. Robbins
Julie C. Robbins, director of client services for Mangan Holcomb Partners (MHP), has spoken numerous times on networking, she often provides career advice to young professionals, including the Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). In January 2019, she will be celebrating 16 years with MHP. Before becoming the director of client services, Robbins spent 10 years working in the public relations department at the agency. Our intern, Rebecca Bailey sat down with Julie to talk about networking, career advice for young professionals and things she’s learned during her career. The conversation was inspired by a talk that Robbins gave to Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members a couple of years ago.
R: What are some of your top tips for making a good first impression in a professional setting?
JCR: First of all, be in a good mood, be happy and be present. Put a smile on your face! Even if you’re not in a good mood, talk yourself into one. You should know how to do a proper, firm handshake and make eye contact. Also, being genuine goes a long way. Try to be truly interested and attentive in what someone is saying. Be adaptable - that’s key. Be aware of where you are, who you are with and act and dress accordingly.
R: What advice do you have on networking?
JCR: First, join a professional organization, such as PRSA or IABC (International Association of Business Communicators). Then, after that, you should also join a professional organization in the industry you work in. You may be a public relations or communications professional, but if you’re working in healthcare, you need to be a part of a professional organization that focuses on the healthcare industry. To network well, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone.
R: What are some things you think younger professionals do well?
JCR: They add SO much mental and physical energy to the workplace, which I appreciate. I’m also very thankful for the new ideas and perspectives they have and their ability to teach others about new things. I really value learning something new from them every day.
R: What are some things you think younger professionals don’t do as well?
JCR: Getting to work on time is something I think younger professionals should work on, which is something I struggled with when I was younger.
R: Is there any other advice you would tell professionals that isn’t considered “normal” career advice?
JCR: Keep the inside of your car clean; you never know when your boss will ask you to take a client to the airport or when your boss and/or client will ask you to drive them somewhere. Keep multiple pairs of shoes in your car, like tennis shoes and boots, because you never know when you’ll be asked to do something that you can’t do if you’re wearing dress shoes. If you are wanting to go into public relations, consider taking the first five years of your career to work in a newsroom and nonprofit before going into an agency or corporate setting.