As I wrap up my first year as a public relations professional, I feel confident (and very lucky) that I found a job I truly enjoy so early in my career. Time seems to move faster every year now. So, I thought it would be useful to share some important lessons I learned in the last 12 months, before my first year blends together with the next five. Hopefully, one of these points, if not more, will save others an embarrassing moment or perhaps settle their expectations as they begin their careers in PR, too.
Research. Research. Research. – Everything. Your clients. Their industries. Their locations. Relevant media outlets, competitors and business partners. Most of all, leverage the resources you have and ones you can easily access for research. Your plate will be too full to do it all, so at least know where you can find these answers in case you need them.
Have a plan with a timeline. – And refer to it often. No matter if days, weeks or months are calm or hectic, having a planned timeline you created and approved with a client is imperative. This allows you to keep goals in mind and cross them off the list when you’ve met them. Allow this planned timeline to be flexible. Short-term projects can appear at any second and can stray you from your original goals, but if they can fit into the plan, they will harmonize well with client success.
Capitalize on your strengths and identify your opportunities. – None of us are good at everything, but that’s what allows us to be great at something. I’m fortunate to work in a team environment where we all benefit from everyone’s strengths and are able to help develop each other’s opportunities. I know I have plenty more to find out about myself, but I feel like I have been able to pinpoint my personal strengths and leverage those as best I can in my work. I jump on items quickly that allow me to use those strengths so that I can support my team members and meet client expectations. Conversely, I consciously identify action items that allow me to work on my opportunities, and I seek help to build on those as they happen.
Too much communication? There is no such thing. – Rarely do I send a work email or text message to only one person. There is always someone else copied on it. I would rather over-communicate than under-communicate to any client or business partner because too little information creates problems. And, as communications professionals, we are held to the highest of these expectations.
These points come into play every day at work for me. Admittedly, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes to understand how important each of these points is to my personal success, but I hope others can learn from these and pay it forward as well. The exciting part is to see how far I’ve come and know how much more I can learn in 2015. Three cheers to many more years in PR!