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Since I graduated in May, I have had people ask me what I think of working in PR. And while this is often my answer . . .
The truth is adjusting to the demands of a full-time PR position is not easy. But instead of reminiscing every night about how much fun college used to be make it an adventure!
I have been to Phoenix and Orlando. I have ridden on a race track in a corvette. I have met people from around the world with years of fun stories to tell. I have interviewed a famous Spanish photographer — all because of my experiences in PR. And that is just the beginning.
So instead of considering everyday work and wishing you were back on your college couch watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother, give this new chapter in your life everything you’ve got. College was not the best times of your life. College was four (maybe five or six) years of crazy decisions and a co-dependent lifestyle. Enjoy being out on your own and approach everyday like This Advertising Life so eloquently laid out in gifs:
And accept the adventure (new job, project, assignment, vacation, conference, seminar, etc.) with this enthusiasm!
This is your life. Don’t envy those people who say they enjoy waking up every morning for work. Be one of those people!
**Did anyone cringe with my Harry Potter (Dumbledore) Hobbit (Gandalf) combo?
What adventures have you been on lately?
I recently went to Nashville (I wish Atlanta had Honky Tonks!) and my first two broadcast shoots!
You know that section near the bottom of the skill requirements for a job application — the PLUS section? For example advanced Microsoft Excel skills a plus.
Well I strongly believe you should continue developing PLUS skills within your current job; not just when you need to be unique in an interview. Since one of my three New Year’s resolution words was develop, I am going to focus on opportunities to develop those skills.
One of my PLUS skills is photo editing To really develop this skill I need a new computer and Photoshop/Illustrator. In the meantime, I am also pretty crafty with any free photo editing software out there.
Just yesterday, I was able to do quick edits on a Save the Date graphic with old PowerPoint and new Paint to create an impromptu event flyer for a client. I was ecstatic when my boss liked the turn out.
What kind of PLUS skills do you have that help you stand out from the crowd?
Below are a few that are easy to learn and use to impress:
- Stay on top of Microsoft Office updates. Especially learn how to do mailings and Excel functions. The capabilities will blow your mind and improve efficiency.
- Be a part-time spontaneous photographer. Learn how to take the best shots with you iphone, ipad or mobile device. Especially with event work you never know when that skill will be needed.
- Learn basic coding. We live in a digital world, so why should you be taken off guard by a simple anchor (hyperlink) code. Here is a good resource.
- Don’t be naive about social media. We are the generation who first used Facebook, but that is no excuse to have a knowledge base that starts and ends with uploading selfies. In the very least know your social media guidelines at work and how you can contribute to the strategy.
I am very excited to announce that I just completed my first week as a PR Assistant at 360 Media! I will be working on lifestyle, entertainment and some non-profit clients.
During my first week, I stumbled across a blog post by Ritika Trikha. She pulled advice from herself and other experts about how to make a good impression in your first 90 days. She mentioned your first 90 days being an extension of your interview. You have a chance to truly prove your worth and value.
To me that sounds like an internship. Luckily, an experience I am very familiar with. So I decided to make my 90 days just that — a chance to prove myself. But since I only have three of the 90 completed I thought I would start with a couple of first day tips.
1. Don’t show up empty handed. Make sure you bring all the paperwork you were required to fill out even if you all ready emailed it over. Also bring two forms of identification and a blank check for your tax forms and direct deposit. Finally bring a pen, legal pad and post its. Use the notepad and post its to help you absorb the mass quantities of new information.
3. Meet people. Remember that elevator pitch you had prepared for networking events? Well bring it out to meet co-workers. You will be meeting tons of people. So fight your bad habit of forgetting names and faces. Take an interest in what they have to say. Hopefully, you will be working with these people for a long time.
4. Use down time wisely. The article I mentioned earlier reminded me of this. When you are alone at your desk, be productive. Organize your things, research a potential assignment or think of questions you might have. Don’t check your personal email or social media networks.
5. Set the communication standard. Set a precedent for open communication between your manager and co-workers the first day. Thank them for assisting you, for a great first day and most importantly ask for feedback when appropriate. You don’t want to be blind sided at your 90 day review. The more feedback you receive, the more prepared you will be.
Do you have any additional first day advice?
One last thing, when you get home celebrate a little. Keep up your excitement and your passion!
Leaving an internship or temporary position can be just as much of an art as landing the internship in the first place. You may have been an amazing intern, but you can easily tarnish that reputation based on how you leave.
As I wrap-up my internship with CARE, I created a goodbye to-do list. My to-do list is complete with things I wish I did differently at past internship goodbyes and new tips I want to test out. You never know; maybe this list can help you transition to a new position as well.
1. Have the talk. When you get to the last month of your internship make sure you sit down with your manager and talk about your plans. Are you hoping to get hired on full-time? Can your manager help you with recommendations? Or do you need to tell your manager about a job offer you have received?
2. Check on your final task list with your manager. In order to make sure you complete all your tasks, make sure you are on the same page with your manager.
3. Schedule an evaluation. Ask your manager and/or additional co-workers to give you feedback on your performance as an intern.
4. Pass on responsibilities. If you had ongoing tasks, make sure you sit down with the appropriate people to pass on what you have been working on. i.e. Updating the calendars and task lists.
5. Move documents to the share drive. I know the share drive is very slow, so you probably save documents to your own folders. Well make sure you save all the reports and research you worked on to the share folder.
6. Review your time sheet.
Trust me skipping this step is not worth missing a paycheck. Make sure you have completed all your necessary time sheets before your last day.
7. Make copies of portfolio pieces. Remember you will no longer have access to any documents you saved, so send yourself any necessary copies for your portfolio.
8. Share your contact information. When the mass email goes out announcing your last week, reply to everyone with your contact information. Let them know you would love to keep in touch.
9. Say thank you. Your co-workers and manager worked hard to bring you into the team and teach you. Don’t let their hard work go unnoticed. Give them personalized thank you’s.
10. Celebrate your goodbye. Invite your co-workers to a goodbye lunch. Having some fun is a great way to leave on a positive note.
11. Connect. Make sure you connect with co-workers on LinkedIn. Also, ask for recommendations from people you worked with directly. (Tip: If you did the evaluation part, then you should have no surprises.)
12. Follow-up. Once you have left, check back in to see how everyone is doing. Internships are great ways to expand your professional network. But you need to continue the relationship by following-up. A Happy Holidays email or recognition for the company’s success can go a long way. And you never know; you might end up working there again.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any additional advice?
After almost two days of saying “I can’t believe it is 2013,” I have decided the year sounds weird. Something is off about 2013. I think it stems from an ancient superstition.
Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. According to articles I found on the Wall Street Journal and Newser, the number 13 became unlucky when people started crashing parties of 12. A 13th guy tried to crash the last supper, and Norse god Loki crashed a dinner part of 12.
Then a lot of other bad stuff happened in years ending in 13, and this all morphed into a fear of Friday the 13th and 13 in general. This fear has become so extensive tall buildings often don’t include a 13th floor, and some airlines don’t include a 13th row.
(Yes, I know what you are thinking. Just because it isn’t labelled 13, doesn’t mean it isn’t the 13th row or floor. But still it comforts people.)
Maybe the Mayans were just trying to be as prepared as the architects and engineers who prevent us from going to floor 13.
Apocalypse = No Year 2013. Well played Mayans — nice try.
Well only the next 363 days can tell what this year actually has in store. In the meantime I am sticking to my resolution. Who knows? Soon 2013 might roll off the tongue more easily.
What are your plans for 2013 superstitious or otherwise?
For the past 22 years of my life I have had short-term attainable goals and long-term dreams. When I was junior in college I had a short-term goal of getting as far away from Roswell as I could. I had long-term dream of working in communications. Well with HOPE scholarship in hand I traveled to Statesboro, GA to earn a degree in liberal arts. During my junior year of college I wanted to be president of PRSSA, I wanted to travel and I wanted my own car. With help and hard work, I landed an amazing job, traveled to cities across the country, became president of PRSSA and bought my first car.
The second semester of my senior year, I wanted to work in public relations more than anything. I spent every night networking or applying for amazing internships in Atlanta. I had a fantastic senior year that ended with an internship at Porter Novelli and the perfect apartment in Buckhead.
After that internship ended, 2012 became the first year I haven’t been able to articulate exactly what I want. Being a driven person, finding my passion became my short-term goal and long-term dream. I don’t think I am quite there yet. But I take comfort in being 22. I take comfort in the fact that I have plenty of years to figure out.
So my New Years resolution is not a short-term tangible goal. It is simple. I want to enjoy the last month I have of being 22. I want to shatter expectations. I want to strive for a career I am passionate and proud of. But most of all I want remember that this, what I wake up doing everyday is my life. And I don’t want to take a single moment of it for granted.
A photo-ode to 2012 . . .