How much can you REALLY prepare for your first “big-kid” job? You can buy multiple business outfits, a shiny new planner and practice your job jargon in the mirror, but no matter what career you step into, you will no doubt feel a little lost your first couple weeks.
I graduated with a degree in Digital Media Production. I knew absolutely nothing about Public Relations. I stumbled upon a job a public relations assistant job at Socialworx PR as a public relations assistant while frantically searching for a job on LinkedIn. I had just moved back to Kansas City and was sending out what felt like a million applications a day.
My first week I spent a lot of time scrambling to learn the essence of what I was doing (I googled the definition of public relations). The other half of the time I was triple checking everything I did to make sure I wasn’t messing anything up beyond repair.
I decided to take a vow to help all the poor interns and new-starts in the public relations field. With these tips, you won’t have to nod/smile and pretend you understand what your boss is saying. You may even slightly impress your boss by having prior knowledge about the industry. Here are tips that I think will help you kickstart your public relations career.
1. Start reading industry websites and sign up for blogs. I read Spin Sucks, PR Daily and Cision’s newsletter every day – along with others. They have media updates, as well as great tips and tricks for us newbies.
2. Research. Research. And do more research. How to do a pitch, who to pitch and when to pitch for a client. Read every article and watch every video on it possible. This video by PR pro, Michael Smart, helped me a lot.
3. Relationships. Start establishing a connection with local journalists, social media influencers and other mover and shakers in the community. Follow them on social media, comment on recent blog posts, like and share their stories and so on. The goal is for them to recognize your name when you do decide to reach out to them. You’ll have a better chance of getting your email opened if there is some familiarity.
4. Familiarize yourself with the back side of social media. Being super cute with your posts will only get you so far. Find out what an algorithm is and why it’s crucial to the success of the social media channel you’re creating content for. Know how to measure analytics and which ones are important and why; reach or engagement or both? The more you know about your audience, the better your content will be.
5. This seems pretty obvious, but research the company you plan to interview with and even more so when you get the job. Who are their past and current clients? Who are their existing clients, their CEO’s, past coverage they secured or what partnerships did they help create? What does service or product does that client provide to the community and how can your skill set bring value to them, not just the company you want to work for. Know your stuff; it’s as simple as that.
Even if you try a couple of these tips, I think you’ll be better off than you were before. And, speaking from experience, now, make sure you can keep up and switch gears with a smile on your face. Nothing about this industry is boring or bland and every day is different. Good luck.