Getting your first PR job, or any job for that matter, can be both thrilling and terrifying. Not only are you excited to start your career, but you’re eager to make a good impression.
Although college and extracurricular activities will provide skills you’ll need to navigate the workplace, every entry-level PR pro will face new challenges, especially in the agency world.
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To help get you on track, here are three common challenges—as well as tips to overcome them.
1. Managing your time
As a new PR professional, you will likely be surprised at the amount of work on your plate. From compiling briefing documents, media lists and agendas, to researching speaking and award opportunities, your average day is typically booked solid, all while learning new responsibilities and fielding inbound client requests. There are times (especially at the beginning of your career) when your workday will seem very chaotic. To mitigate this, it’s imperative that people just getting into the industry develop strong time management skills early on.
Here are a few tips below that will ensure you’re making the most of your time:
- Develop a daily task list with the activities you’re responsible for. Also, include how much time you estimate each task will take so you can plan out your day accordingly. If you’ve compiled your task list and allocated nine hours of work for the day, talk to your manager and see which task(s) can be pushed back. By creating a tentative plan first thing in the morning—and keeping the line of communication open with your team—you’re one step closer to managing your time effectively.
- Schedule your day in an online calendar , such as Outlook. In PR, your day is consistently changing—meetings pop up or get pushed back, last-minute research requests come in, deadlines are moved up, etc. By assigning each task to a particular time of the day, and readjusting as needed, you’re continuously referencing your to-do list. By setting alerts on your calendar, you’ll be reminded when it’s time to start a new task.
- Go over weekly priorities every Monday as a team . This will give you an opportunity to discuss timelines and opens the door for communication with your manager
2. Making deadlines
Using the excuses that worked in college is unlikely to go over well with your client. To keep your clients happy and your PR initiatives moving forward, it’s essential that you’re always conscious of deadlines.
There are a few ways to do this:
- First and foremost, ask your client or team if there is a deadline. This gives you the ability to plan out the rest of your day or week and collaborate with colleagues as needed.
- If you develop a daily task list, highlight the initiatives you must get done today or tomorrow. This will make those particular tasks stand out when you reference your priorities throughout the day.
- Create a calendar appointment on the day and time a task is due. This will remind you when the deadline is, so it doesn’t fall off your plate.
3. Using social media professionally
Another challenge for anyone starting an entry-level career is learning how to use social media professionally. While these channels are a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, there’s a good chance you’ll start using it to connect with colleagues and clients as well. Because the way you portray yourself online can affect how people in the workplace view you, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to make a good impression when using social media.
Here are a few tips to help you use social media professionally:
- Only post content you’d feel comfortable with your client or boss reading. If you wouldn’t say it when they’re around, you probably shouldn’t post it online.
- Don’t post negative comments about work. Your colleagues, boss or client could see those comments and that’s an uncomfortable conversation you don’t want to have.
- Post photos that you wouldn’t be embarrassed about. When you list which company you work for on your page—and start to connect with colleagues via social media—you will start to show up as a suggested friend to people you have those similarities with. If your profile picture is inappropriate, then it could make things awkward at work. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” really is true.
What challenges would you add to this list, PR Daily readers? Do you have any advice for the next generation of PR pros?
Jordyn Danielson is a marketing analyst with Shift Communications. A version of this article originally ran on the Shift Communications blog.