November 3, 2017
It’s coming up to Christmas and we all know what that means - family asking the loaded question for every student nationwide: So, what are you going to do when you graduate?
You might say PR.
You might say PR with absolutely no idea what that means for you, or even what PRs do.
I was the same. Now I’m a few months in and these are four key lessons that I have learnt so far and remind myself of every day.
If you’re about to start a PR career or even just thinking about it, these lessons might help you in your decision-making process.
1. Trust is important
Never for one moment believe you are over qualified for anything.
As a grad, you may be asked to do jobs which seem menial and part of a long and tedious process. Such as proof-reading your emails before you send them. You think, “Hey, I have a degree. I can write an email.”
And trust me, they’re not doing it for kicks. The last thing they want to be doing is reading your emails every five minutes.
But it is all part of learning, an incredibly important part of it at that.
Trust comes into it because you have to trust that your managers give you jobs to help you learn. This one came from the top. Only this week, Chris Lewis, our CEO, was telling us in a press briefing that trust is a vital part of cohesive team work.
2. Curiosity is even more so
One vital lesson I have learnt as a grad was one of the first. In our assessment centre, our MD Giles Peddy told us to be curious.
When we say ‘curious’ in PR, it means reading as much as you can, whenever you can, wherever you can.
Reading will help expand your writing and knowledge.
Whether it is news, literature, or even blogs, you should read read read.
Furthermore, it is important that you read outside the filter bubble. Don’t just read opinions you agree with, read opinions that challenge your stance. By doing so, you will broaden your understanding of a debate and give yourself a more balanced approach to defending your opinions.
It will help you in interviews and in the work place.
Curiosity also comes in the form of questioning. You need to question why you’re doing certain tasks. What does it mean? You will learn a lot.
A lesson I am still learning.
My natural instinct is to get my head down and work alone, because if I communicate with people they might see me as interrupting their work.
The reality in an office is that your managers want you to communicate with them. They want to know if you’re struggling, or if you’re on top of your jobs, so they can lend a helping hand when necessary. It’s all about laying a solid foundation of basic skills down so you can keep building as you progress through your career.
Learn to communicate before you start a task, during, and once it is done.
4. You’re part of a team now
One of the biggest culture shocks when going from university to the office is that your work is going towards the team not just yourself.
If you were late handing in an essay, or not doing enough work, the only person that was ultimately going to be affected was you.
However, when you move to the real world and you work as part of a team for a client, if you don’t do something the effect will go further than just you. You’re held accountable for your actions and the slack will be left to your team to pick up.
But don’t worry – your team is there to help you grow and develop into a PR professional.