The first few months of working in the PR industry can be the most challenging yet rewarding. For most people, and especially the #DCPR community, the first few months come in the form of a summer field placement. Going into my placement, I knew a few basic things about what to expect. Yet in all reality, like most first jobs, you have no idea what you’re really in for! Here are 10 things I learned in my first five weeks at placement, all of which are completely agency related (as per my experience).
- Make an attempt with each and every employee to get to know them. This will help you feel more part of the team and helps them to build trust in you. Also, the more comfortable you are, the more confident you will be to speak up in meetings or brainstorming session and share your ideas with the team. You have a voice, make sure you use it!
- Check, double-check and then check one more time. The small details matter, be thorough with every email, mailer and pitch. Never send anything without taking a double-look.
- Be OK with the fact that we are human and everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Own your mistakes and take them as a growing experience. I seriously guarantee you will never make that mistake again and you will have learned from it.
- Absorb every inch of knowledge you can. Every conversation, meeting and conference call is an opportunity for you to network with other people, gain a better understanding of the industry, and come out with new knowledge.
- Deadlines are deadlines. Prioritize the work that is needed first and chip away at the additional work. If you have too much on your plate, don’t be afraid to say, “I have a few things due by EOD today, could I give them to you tomorrow by noon.” Trust me, I am one of those people who never want to say no to an opportunity – yet I quickly learned what is realistic when it comes to multiple deadlines. You never want to fall short and disappoint someone who was relying on you and they’ll appreciate your honesty. Deadlines are everything, especially in the world of PR agencies.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. While I completely understand you may feel annoyed by reaching out, but I guarantee what’s more annoying is completing a task wrong and having to completely redo it. I also made sure every time I heard a term I didn’t understand to immediately clarify it (industry lingo is real!). Make sure you understand what is being asked of you. The other interns around you will thank you – they didn’t understand either.
- If your role consists of media monitoring (95 per cent do), I would suggest creating a PR Instagram you can use to effectively monitor and follow influencers or businesses without clogging up your personal feed!
- You aren’t going to know the answer to everything- and that’s OK. You’re there to help, but you’re also there to learn. It’s OK to ask for help if you don’t know how to do something. Field placements are mutually beneficial – you are helping an agency while they give you the opportunity of hands-on PR work.
- Agencies are usually extremely casual, that being said, if you are setting up an event that you’re not attending, always bring a formal outfit with you. Although setting up is usually formal as well, there is the odd chance they may invite you to stay and you never want an outfit to hold you back from an opportunity like that!
- Enjoy every second of it. This is a learning opportunity for you: you’ve waited two years for it, enjoy it!
I sincerely hope this helps you as you enter into the ever-changing world of PR.
Until next time,
Emily Sleep, Class of 2019