What to Know Before Starting a Job in PR

Meg Hand and Katie Clark

You’ve nailed the interview and accepted that shiny new job in public relations, now what? Working at a new agency can be unnerving and taking a step in a new direction after college can be a challenge, but we think you’re up for it.

Here are some tips that have helped me in my first few weeks at SHIFT:

Do your homework.

Before the interview, you hopefully did your research on the company and all the team members you’d be meeting with (Right?). Dust off those notes and get a refresher! If you’ll be writing for the company, check out their writing style and tone. Not just on the website, but social media, too. Subscribe to their newsletter. Ask questions about their culture. Get to know the clients and have a basic understanding of how the agency works with them. Want to know more about what a client does that isn’t covered? Dig into the client’s website. You can learn a lot about a company by what they share with the public and how they present certain information.

Never stop pitching yourself.

Despite your new role, you never know when an opportunity to expand your skills or help out another team will present itself. Are you a blogging wiz? Ask if you can contribute a guest post for the company blog! Are you good at speaking in front of crowds? Consider leading a class for your peer group!

Chances are your personality played a substantial role in your getting hired in the first place. It’s public relations after all – so be personable! Strut your stuff, share what you know and don’t be scared to get to know people. Share your personality with the world! Ask questions. Get involved.

Network! Get to know the new faces.

As the new face in the crowd, all eyes are on you. Everyone will know your name – so try and learn everyone else’s. It’ll take some time for all the faces to be familiar, but getting to know others outside of your team will help and put you at ease. We all know the importance of networking within the industry, but it’s just as important to know the people you work with everyday.  The relationships that you build within your agency can be just as valuable than the skills you learned on the job.

Go with the flow.

As a PR professional, you’ll have emails and tasks flying at you a mile a minute (yes, sometimes even on Day 1). Flexibility and organization are going to be key when starting your new job. You’ll be getting into the groove with a new team while being taught your agency’s particular way of doing things. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. But keep an open mind (and an open notebook and fresh pen) and run with it!

…But speak up!

While being flexible and going with the flow is important, don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Sometimes a fresh perspective can open everyone’s eyes up to a new way of doing things or approaching a problem. Your team will appreciate the time saving tips and how you jump in to solve the problem rather than just pointing out the issues.

At the end of the day, you are the new hire for good reason. Someone was impressed with your skills (and personality) enough to bring you on board and invest the time in your growth as a professional. Take this opportunity to hone your skills and learn something new! Relax and have fun on your first day. It’s a new adventure!

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Coordinator

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Posted on March 20, 2014 in Agency Life, Learning, Public Relations, Recent Hires, Training

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