Three top tips for starting a career in PR
Getting your first job after leaving university will always be a proud moment which should be celebrated. Once the dust has settled, however, there is naturally a lot of uncertainty about how to succeed in your new role!
You thought the worry would be over after you answered the competency-based questions or completed an interview task, but reality inevitably hits. The fear of the interview turns into the fear of starting at your new job. So, based on my own experiences, I’ve compiled a list of a few things I have learned to help those starting out in PR.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
While it can be daunting to ask questions when you’re new in a job, no matter what stage of your career you’re in, you’re never going to know all the answers. PR teams are comprised of people with a diverse range of experience and skillsets, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions. They are there to help you achieve your best in the tasks you’re assigned, such as when clarification is needed on an issue or discussing how best to approach a journalist. Having someone explain a topic one-to-one is often far easier to understand than simply reading an article or browsing the web. On top of this, you have the benefit of asking questions to clear up points you are unsure of. Be proactive and ask questions about the specific subject to help you get under the skin of your clients and their business.
- Ask for feedback wherever you can, and accept any criticism that may come along with it…
Asking for feedback allows your managers to see that you truly value the work you’re doing that you want to achieve your best not only for yourself, but for the client as well. It also allows you to understand those aspects of your work which need improvement. Therefore, ask your managers how you’re doing: be open to criticism, but take it as constructive feedback.
I strongly believe that you can really benefit from this type of feedback, as it’s where you’ll learn the most about yourself, including how best to improve your work and what to do differently next time. This demonstrates you’re capable of change and you want to progress in your job role.
- Organisation is crucial
PR involves juggling a number of different tasks and accounts, and you’ll need to be able to alternate between these accounts daily, spending a set number of hours on each. While your managers will keep track of the work you have on, make sure you take ownership of your workload and properly plan your time. Having daily and weekly plans are essential. Find a format that works for you and stick to it.
Thanks to my super-organised line manager Sophie who’s passed on her organisation skills, all my emails go straight into designated folders, and I definitely live every day by my to-do list! This means I know what I have to do each morning before I start work, where I’m up to with certain tasks and whether I can take on more.
Finally, remember that everyone was new once. You’re learning, just like everyone around you. Don’t expect to know everything all at once, or complete tasks as quickly as others in your team. PR can be demanding, but ultimately incredibly rewarding, along with the skills you learn.