A Shifter’s Look Back At Her First Year In The Working World

How has it been over a year since I graduated? A dive into the past year of change, growth and what I’ve learned so far as a SHIFTer.

The Art Of The Follow-Up

Not only have I learned the art of the follow-up email through the various client media relations programs I’ve worked on, but I’ve learned the importance of follow-up in my everyday life. Persistence is key in PR, and we land our best media hits often with a thoughtful follow-up note. Fostering connections with the media is how we find our “friendlies” who often help lead us to a key piece of coverage, and sending something back up to the top of someone’s inbox shows importance and that you care.

Similarly, fostering connections and mastering the art of a follow-up with our co-workers and teammates and keeping up with friends outside of work has been something I’ve come to realize helps when growing your personal and professional networks. Whether you are applying to a job, reaching out for a reference or sharing additional insight with a journalist, personalizing a note and letting them know you are interested pays off. In our lives outside of the office, everyone is busy. Whether we are running to catch the train in the morning, getting to the grocery store after work or just trying to sneak in a workout, we can’t forget to follow-up on grabbing coffee with an old roommate or meeting up with friends at a football tailgate. These relationships can open doors and opportunities for our futures, so why not send that follow-up? Our lives revolve around our mobile devices, email and texts; a quick note as a reminder or a thoughtful check-in goes a long way.

Don’t Be Afraid To Over-Communicate

PR is an everyday hustle, through the media outreach, bylines and articles, client calls, briefings and meetings, it’s easy to get wrapped up in it all. There is no such thing as over-communicating, especially when you are early in your career or new to a job or team, but especially in PR…I mean we are pros at communicating, right? Making the effort to let your coworkers know what you’re working on can ease the stress. Being able to communicate clearly with team members is crucial in this fast-paced environment, and being over-communicated to from peers and managers in the past has helped me appreciate my coworkers and the hard work they are also putting in day in and day out. Working hard to keep communication lines open with coworkers, managers and teammates is key to your success, and making the effort to keep up with the ones you’re closest with outside of the office is easy to forget, but important to remember.

Life a year or so post-grad is different for so many reasons and keeping up with friends is a big change from living across the hall or a dorm over. Sometimes it feels like my college friends and I have all found our way to different cities, but communication and making the effort to get together makes a difference in our relationships in the real world. Go the extra mile and don’t be afraid to over-communicate outside of work to keep the relationships you have.

Being “Always-On”

When I first started my job in PR, it didn’t take long for me to realize that public relations professionals are “always-on” and are in some ways eating, breathing and sleeping the industries their clients are in. Day one, I was immediately looking forward to being as involved as my teammates and coworkers were with the clients. While wrapping my head around the B2B tech space was definitely not something that came easy at first, being always-on has helped me balance the various clients, industries, media outlets and news as I began my career in PR and has helped me to see the value in paying attention to the little details.

Additionally, being all-in with the agency’s culture has helped me grow over the past year. When our office moved to Back Bay last winter, new opportunities opened up with a new, open floor plan and new pod-mates, new outings and places to pop out for lunch. Always being on and keeping an open mind has helped me successfully navigate my new role, absorb the SHIFT culture and take advantage of these new opportunities. I’ve discovered how important it is to immerse myself into my role and the company as much as I can and being open to this new experience and the changes around me has proven to be nothing short of rewarding. With our extended-agency network and our cross-agency summits, I have been able to meet people throughout our larger organization. I’ve been able to participate in cross-team brainstorms and work on clients with team members across the country. Our agency connections offer opportunities to explore what other teams are working on that go beyond our normal client work, which is a growth opportunity I have found to be extremely valuable for my professional development and the first stage of my career.

Embrace A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Diving into a 9-5 job after school definitely brought new challenges, as a first full-time job is a major change. Staying organized and managing your time is something you learn throughout school, but basically re-learn in the corporate world. Managing 40 hours of work each week as opposed to 15 hours of class is a change in itself, and with the everyday hustle and bustle of the PR world, I’ve learned how to better handle change every day. PR has immediate deadlines and longer days but has opened my eyes up to new knowledge and an appreciation for how the media operates.

Balancing my time in the office is something I am always striving to be on top of, and finding the right work-life structure outside of the office is key as well. Having the right balance has helped me stay on top of my deadlines and kept me feeling refreshed with each new day in the office and each new challenge that has come my way.

With year one in the working world under my belt, I’m moving up the ranks from recent grad to young professional and am looking forward to what year two as a SHIFTer has in store.

Grace Francesconi

Account Coordinator


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