Friday, May 20, 2016

Lessons Learned my first five months in PR


By: Ashley Vickney, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

It’s graduation season, and as an early-graduate I’ve been able to watch my friends graduate from college and enter the “real world.” A term that generally strikes fear into a college senior’s heart, I thought I would offer some words of advice to my new work peers on the “real world.”
  1. Early is On Time
    Try to arrive anywhere at least five minutes early. This includes meetings, work, workout classes and drinks with your friends. It shows that you value their time, your time and think what you’re doing is important.
  2. Pick Up the Phone
    Talking on the phone seems to be the bane of our generation’s existence. With about six other ways to contact people, we would much rather use those. However sometimes calling an editor, reporter or a client is the easiest, or best, way to get the information you need. I’ve also found that a five-minute conversation on the phone with a client will give you a lot more information than a long chain of emails.
  3. Take Notes
    As an entry-level employee, taking notes is one of the best ways to set yourself apart. In meetings, take note of important details, and comments the client or boss makes about upcoming events. Another trick with this is to make a list of what you or your agency needs to do, and what your boss or client says they’ll do. At the end of the meeting you can easily list off who is going to do what or send a follow-up email.
  4. Create a Task System
    As a full-time employee, you’re going to have a couple of projects and regular tasks to complete. Create your own task system using whatever you want. It’s going to take some experimentation with different systems but you’ll figure it out. Being able to prioritize is an essential skill, so don’t be afraid to ask someone how important the task they gave you is, or ask your supervisor for help.
  5. Network and Create Connections
    PR is about connections, and it’s never too early to start. Make a goal of attending at least one networking event a month, joining your local PRSA and young professionals group at your local chamber. Also make a point of getting to know your co-workers. Ask about their hobbies, families and their careers. I’ve gained so much by knowing my co-workers well, and have created what I hope are long-lasting relationships and mentor/mentee relationships.
  6. The Learning Doesn’t Stop with Your Degree
    Never stop reading articles, magazines or looking for ways to improve your skills. Learn HTML, how to use Adobe Creative Suite, or even look at business classes. If there is a topic that intrigues you, read about it and see what you can do to dive deeper into it. Your degree is the foundation and starting point, not the end of your learning.
  7. Don’t Work All the Time
    Working all the time doesn’t actually do anything for you other than wear you down. Take time to exercise, get out of your cube for lunch and call your parents. Will you have to work a lot? Yes. But don’t just work to work. Be productive, do your job well, and take some time for yourself.
The “real world” isn’t nearly as bad as it seems. It won’t be an easy transition, but if you put in effort, give yourself a little grace and don’t give up you’ll be a full-fledged working adult in no time.
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