Surviving Your First Job in Public Relations

A  few of us in the office were comparing notes on PR Daily’s list of things you should expect in an entry level public relations job.  As Katie mentioned in her earlier blog discussion on defining PR, one essential component of the industry is change.  One day can look very different from the next. Here are a few other things to expect:

  • Embrace the guinea pig. Trying and researching new communications tools is essential to determine whether a platform or service is a right fit for your organization or clients. Whether it’s a vendor or a new platform, be ready to dive in and test. Anticipate questions and keep target consumers in mind when forming recommendations.
  • Learn the language. Beyond mastering the acronyms flying around the office (i.e. ATF), each industry has its own terms you may need to explain or discuss in your media materials. Take time to read your client’s written statements and understand the nuances of the wording and note any sensitivities.
  • Dig into the research. At a junior level, many of your tasks may involve research. Unless you’re searching for a specific statistic or figure, make sure you know the end goal for the research. If you’re trying to educate consumers on an issue or illustrate a demand for your client’s product, ask what this information will achieve. Also when you’re new to a PR firm, talk to your coworkers with more seniority about campaigns they have previously launched.
  • Get the details down. PR materials and plans are fine-tuned and edited by several sets of eyes. Your team will rely on you to catch the seemingly small mistakes and formatting errors. Take your time and develop a sharp eye for details.
  • Adjust to different interoffice communication styles. Good internal communication can streamline a project. If you’re unclear about instructions given through email or instant messenger, take the time to ask questions right away to avoid having to redo a project. Often you will work on several different projects for different clients at once. If you have four projects due at the same time, let your team know.  It’s better to let them know before the deadline so you can readjust and prioritize.

PR is fast moving and the variety of work will keep you on your toes. Managing your deadlines, communicating with your team to understand end goals and paying attention to details will assist you in navigating an entry level position.

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