Public Relations Year One: Advice For Industry Newcomers
After my college graduation, I found myself with more questions than I had arrived with: at 18, I was certain that I would pursue a career in law. By 22, I wasn’t so sure. I had a new desire to explore different industries. I freelanced writing content and also taught abroad for a brief period. This was fun and exciting for a few years but sharply lost its appeal as I increasingly felt stagnant in my career growth.
Then I discovered PR. It combined a lot of things I loved: creative work, collaboration with others, writing, and storytelling. I applied for nearly every PR internship in San Francisco on a Wednesday morning and, by Friday of the same week, landed my first internship.
This was just a little over a year ago, and it’s been the most professionally transformative year of my life. Here are a few pieces of advice I can offer if you are beginning a career in PR.
Find a Mentor
If your organization does not have an established mentorship program, find someone senior who might be able to offer the guidance you need.
I joined Bospar three months ago, and the formal mentorship program has been one of the best resources I have ever had access to in a workplace. My mentor has been helpful in sharing honest, constructive feedback, providing guidance on projects, and help in navigating organizational challenges confidentially. I feel that someone is helping me advocate for my career, and the support increases my own confidence.
Learn to Manage Your Time Effectively
I thought I was a highly organized person before I started my internship. In fact, I touted my excellent time management skills in my interview. But I was not prepared for how fast-paced and demanding a typical agency day can be.
In recent months, I have challenged myself to ask for help from my team. I say “no” if I truly do not have time for a project and set realistic deadlines. Not only does this allow me to produce quality deliverables on time, but I am also able to log off at a reasonable hour in the evenings.
PR is team-oriented work, and your ability to work efficiently and effectively with your team influences your success.
I’ve found that my best teammates are those who get along well professionally and personally; the latter may take some effort,but it’s worthwhile. Moreover, PR is a tight-knit industry: I got my job at Bospar through a referral from a friend I met at my first agency. I continue to stay in touch with friends with whom I’ve worked in the past and love the camaraderie that is shared among those of us in the industry.
Year One has been an exciting journey of learning and professional fulfillment. I look forward to what Year Two will bring!