I did it! A few days before writing this, I passed my one year anniversary at Voxus PR. As the resident New Guy (we haven’t hired another program associate since I came on board) and relative public relations newcomer, I’ve taken it upon myself to chronicle my journey from newbie to (hopefully) seasoned pro. The last time I shared some pointers was at my six-month anniversary, so the time is ripe for more. Read on for a new batch of tips for the first year of your PR career.
Find a mentor
The best way to help move your public relations career along is to get advice from someone who’s already been there. Find a coworker who’s where you want to be in three or five years and ask them how they did it. Listen to their advice – it’s probably good.
Don’t be scared of performance reviews
These shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s a chance for you to get formal feedback on your work and find out where you need to improve in order to advance farther. Take the opportunity to have a conversation with your supervisors about what your goals are and how you can reach them.
You won’t be able to give 100% all the time
There will be times working in PR when the launches overlap, the work piles up, someone takes a vacation at the worst possible time, or all your clients decide they each really, really need to send a release on the same day. If you’re like me, these situations will drive you crazy because you’ll feel like you can’t do all of your work to a high enough level. Don’t waste time stressing out about it – it’s a part of the business. Take a deep breath, prioritize your to-do list, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Learn time zones
Get a clock or a chart and make sure you double check the times on everything you schedule. Eastern and Pacific time are easy enough, but when you start scheduling meetings for trade shows halfway around the world it begins to get more complicated. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to reschedule a briefing because you set it up for the wrong time.
Use your vacation time
Americans don’t take enough time off, and those of us who are hyper-organized, type-A PR folks tend to be extra susceptible to that flaw. Forbes reported that using vacation time benefits both the worker and the company (since happier, more relaxed employees are more productive). Make sure you take the time to preserve your work-life balance and get away from the office once in a while.
Even though you’re just a lowly PA or AAE, you still can contribute ideas to discussions. Don’t let your lack of PR experience hold you back from offering ideas. Take any chance you can get to own your work in client calls or meetings. Even if it’s something small, it shows you’re able to take responsibility.