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A Guide to Surviving Your First Agency Job


Cresonia Wong
Published on July 19, 2018
By Cresonia Wong

Congratulations! You finished your degree and snagged your first communications job. But just as you’re about to sit back and relax after four years of hard work, requests flood your inbox, meetings fill up your calendar and your phone is practically blowing up.

a guide to surviving your first agency job
You’re new and a bit lost. But, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Below are four tips to help you find your way around.

Ask yourself questions

Oftentimes, asking questions is the only way to learn something, and the more questions you ask early on, the sooner you’ll be able to ask less of them. But before raising your hand for others to help, a good practice is to ask yourself the question first.

Here’s a few to get you started:
Have you tried Googling the answer? Is the answer hidden somewhere in your inbox? Is there a company document that may help?

Taking initiative not only helps familiarize yourself with the content and the company, but also shows your team members that you did your due diligence. And hey, in doing so, you might even find the answer after all!

Find a mentor

After you start working, it’ll become pretty clear who the all-stars are at your company. Your next task? Find these people and reach out to them.

Excellent co-workers can be a priceless wealth of wisdom, industry knowledge and guidance. Study their writing, observe how they interact with others and ask for their advice and feedback.

If you look up to them, there’s a good chance they’re doing something right, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and maybe even ask them out for coffee when they’re free. I’m sure they’ll be flattered too.

mentorship

Learn to manage yourself

Once you get the hang of things around the office, work towards managing yourself, rather than waiting for people to manage you.

This means taking a look to see what your client or team members may need, volunteering to help when you can and coming to meetings equipped with both potential answers and prepared questions in order to make the most of face-to-face time. 

Not only will this help you understand your clients and accounts more, but will also encourage team members to see you as a trusty and valuable resource.

Learn the lingo

PR is filled with many funky terms that make no sense taken out of context. (Just take a peek at several below from PR daily).

But no matter how wacky they may seem, it’s still crucial to familiarize yourself with PR jargon so you’re not scratching your head next time your team lead asks you to flag a
hit that’s gaining traction, stemming from that evergreen pitch you wrote.

  • Hits – media coverage
  • Pitch – note to inform/gauge interest from media
  • Running/ran – article appeared
  • Traction – interest/coverage
  • Prezo – a PowerPoint presentation
  • Release – a news announcement (as opposed to a product release)
  • Launch – the public marketing announcement of a product
  • B-roll – “highlights” video of something we want to promote (company, person, event), often used to show broadcast outlets the potential for a story and/or provide them with footage for the story
  • Boilerplate – short description of a company, most often used at the end of a press release
  • Evergreen – story/pitch angle that won’t fade over time, could be pitched/published at any time (as opposed to news that is only relevant during a certain period of time)

Your first job can be scary, intimidating and maybe even a bit demoralizing at times. But, once you push through and familiarize yourself with the industry, the people and the processes, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. 

Are you looking for your first job at agency? Check out our current opportunities.


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