In last month’s issue of PR Tactics, James R. Jaye, APR gives his testimony as to why communications professionals should embrace math in their careers. After continuously hearing the “I hate math” mantra in the PR world, Jaye urges professionals to understand that maintaining a basic grasp of math and financial skills is not as hard as they may think.
The language of numbers
As a grant proposal writer at a small nonprofit organization, Jaye found himself using math skills in every proposal he wrote. He had to consider things like return on investment, metrics and budgeting. “This first job helped me wise up fast. Math mattered,” Jaye said.
After a few years he was able to use his experience with numbers to gain a position at a Fortune 500 manufacturing company. As a marketing communications manager in the business unit, writing was a huge part of his day to day strategy, but his math skills and financial awareness ultimately drove his success and led to his promotion to a corporate role.
A winning combination: math and communication skills in conjunction
Because he learned the value of math proficiency early in his career, Jaye strongly believes that professionals should spend time with numbers to produce a winning combination of skills. His advice is to:
- Build a strong base. Undergraduates majoring in public relations, communications or a related field should consider taking an accounting or finance class as an elective. It will set you apart from the rest.
- Realize that companies run on numbers. Jaye says, “In any communications role, the folks who you’ll be working with live in a world of numbers…math is a common language and your bridge to them.”
- Work at it. For some people who work mainly with words, the language of numbers may not come easily. Jaye says it’s OK to have to take the time to figure it out. Working hard to build your math skills is an investment in your future.
Embrace numbers and don’t sell yourself short. In the long run, you will be more marketable and have a wider range of career opportunities.