It seems like just yesterday I was graduating college, and now here I am about six months into my career at Konnect Agency. When I was in school, I knew I wanted to work at a Public Relations Agency in Los Angeles but never knew what it would take to get there. Everything about starting my career seemed terrifying yet exciting at the same time. During these last six months I have learned more than I could have imagined, so here are my top six learnings, so far:
- Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Coming into a new environment can be pretty daunting, especially when you’re still learning everything there is to know about public relations. I make sure to ask questions if I need clarification on something because I know it will only help me in the future. When you ask questions about things you don’t understand, it’s more likely to stick with you down the line. I used to be terrified to ask questions, but I’ve quickly learned that it’s okay to not know something and to ask rather than ignore.
- Sit in on as many brainstorms as you can. Our clients are always looking for eye-catching, newsworthy campaigns that will help them stand out above the competition. This is where brainstorm meetings come in. I enjoy sitting in on these brainstorms, especially when I’m not directly involved in the account. I’m able to provide a unique perspective while also learning about different clients and industries.
- Know how much you can handle and when you have too much on your plate. This is definitely something I struggled with in the past since I have an “ I can do it all” personality. I had to learn that it’s okay to speak up when I feel overwhelmed with my workload. By doing this I learned how to prioritize my workload based on the importance of each project and its deadline. A few months ago we learned about “deep work,” which is when you block out a certain about of time for one specific task and eliminate all distractions till you’re done with said task. By utilizing “deep work” I am able to see how long I should work on each project without spending too much time on it, this way I am able to get through most of my to-do list.
- You’re going to wear many different hats. Working at a Lifestyle PR Agency, each day is different whether I’m pitching, working on agendas, clips or putting together a media list. I have already had the opportunity to jump into different projects to help with a campaign. By doing this, I have learned how to adapt to different accounts even if it is for a short amount of time. For example, I have worked on calendar listings for one client and later lead community outreach for another. I enjoy being brought onto various projects because it allows me to see what I enjoy most on different accounts, and learn new skills.
- Contribute to department meetings. Each department holds meetings throughout the week to go over industry insights, new pitch topics, what journalists are working on, and any account struggles we may be facing. It can be easy to stay quiet during department meetings, especially during the first few months while you’re still adapting. I recently started contributing ideas during these meetings and came up with a pitch, proposed it to the department and began pitching it out a few days later. I’ve learned that all ideas are welcome, so why not share them.
- Learn your manager’s communication styles and adapt as best you can. Being on multiple accounts means you will have different managers on each account and we all know that everyone has different communication styles. It’s so important to learn and understand your manager’s communication styles and adapt as best as you can. Some managers may want to know where you’ve left off on a project by the end of the day and others are totally hands-off. If you’re unsure of what the communication style is with your manager, ask how they like to receive their information. They will definitely appreciate you asking rather than just assuming. This will help avoid miscommunication down the road.
I could list many other things I’ve learned in the past six months but these are definitely the most important to me. My biggest piece of advice for starting out at a new agency is to just take it all in, be a sponge and learn as much as you can.