Starting a job in a public relations agency of any size can be overwhelming and, at times, intimidating – no matter what stage you are at in your career. Yes, the hours are going to be long. Yes, the clients will be demanding. You’ll learn new things every day and sometimes, in the face of near impossible odds, you will deliver excellent work to clients and say to yourself “wow I never thought I could pull that off.”
1. The chance for creativity is everywhere, every day. Now, by creativity I mean a broader definition than “the creative.” Creativity is coming up with an idea that your client would not or could not have come up with themselves. In this context, you have the ability to infuse creativity into even the most boring or risk-adverse client.
2. Read the paper…or some version thereof…everyday. In a 24-hour news cycle, something somebody said is bound to affect one of the clients you work with – or even a client you wish to work with. A proactive approach to media helps build coveted trusted relationships with your clients, and potentially could even make them look good in front of their bosses (win, win!)
3. Connect the dots. Much like the childhood game, your job as a PR professional can at times seem like you are inundated with seemingly disparate information. But if you look closely, and perhaps dig a little, you will start to make connections and see the larger picture. Connecting the dots will allow you to be creative, proactive and solution-minded.
4. Relationships matter, and your career will soar if you are able to build them. Build relationships with colleagues by doing good work; build relationships with clients by anticipating their needs and perhaps asking them questions that neither you nor they know the answer to; build relationships with journalists, vendors, and folks in the “trenches” of the industries your clients represent.
5. Go out for lunch! You may be tempted to eat lunch at your desk, and you may even brag about it. But this is not something to be proud of. Getting out, talking to clients, potential clients and people in your industry and your clients’ industries is an important part of your job. And, frankly, it is fun. Make an appointment for lunch or breakfast once a month with someone outside of your office. You’ll be amazed at what you learn, and you’ll be a better PR practitioner for it.
Post by Ellen Birek DeMunter (CLAS ’02)
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