Judgment day

My fellow classmates and I were provided with a rare opportunity today during our career management class – to have Martin Waxman, APR – Co-founder and President of Palette Public Relations Inc., in to speak. He wasn’t in to talk to us about agency life or starting your own firm; he was, in fact, discussing our resumes.

A couple of weeks ago, we were given a job description for an account coordinator position at Palette PR and were asked to come up with a cover letter and resume tailored to that job description. We then handed in two copies, one for our instructor to mark, and one for Martin to mark.

To me, this was just as intimidating as starting this blog. Yet again, my writing and personality were being put out there for people to see; my professional reputation on the line.

The results came in today. Martin said he was generally impressed and gave us great feedback. But with all of the advice he gave us today about cover letters and resumes, one thing in particular stuck out in my mind. He said that “judgment” is one of the most important things he looks for in a potential employee.

This really got me thinking. While judgment is an important skill, it is generally not one that people think to highlight in cover letters, resumes and during interviews. But being able to use your own judgment demonstrates to an employer that you are confident in yourself and the skills you can bring as an employee. Most employers know they will have to answer questions for you in the beginning. But by demonstrating that you have strong judgment, you are letting your employer know that you are independent and will try to problem solve on your own first. This is a big help for busy professionals.

This is not something we should wait to demonstrate. This is a skill that we need to practice now, as students. We need to show our teachers that we are capable of making decisions about assignments on our own without having every detail. It is hard because we all care about our grades and by not asking questions and using our own judgment, we are taking risks, which can be scary. But in the end, we will be learning valuable lessons that we can apply during our upcoming internship interviews and in our many upcoming years as successful PR professionals.



  1. Nice call on this post! Over the years that I’ve been in my career, this is one of the most important aspects of a job.

    At first, when you start a new job, you have to keep your eyes and ears open, then ask lots of questions. Once you become comfortable in your position, you can start making decisions on your own and then ask questions later.


    Richard Rinyai

  2. Gary Schlee Said:

    You make a wonderfully astute connection between demonstrating judgment to an employer and exercising it in academic assignments. It’s tough to get students to exercise their abilities to analyze and solve problems if we box them in with too many instructions. Thanks for flagging the issue, and thanks to Martin Waxman for inspiring the thought in the first place!

  3. Exercising good judgment takes so many forms. On the job it ranges from knowing it’s just not a good idea to wear flip flops to a client meeting to avoiding calling in sick the day after the company picnic.

    In an academic environment, students with consistently sound judgment know when to speak, when to stay silent, when to run, when to walk and when to pat themselves on the back. It helps if you’ve been an individual who has always exercised pretty good judgment. As I suspect you have…..

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