I’m quickly approaching my two-year anniversary of being a PR Pro. These past two years have been filled with new faces, places and challenges. I’ve had the opportunity to do things I’d never thought I’d do and build connections with people I would have never run into on my own. While it’s been an exciting two years, and there have been many lessons learned.
A bachelor’s degree is just the beginning.
While I value and appreciate my degree, it was only a stepping stone into the professional world. Many of the things I’ve learned have been on the job. A degree provides you with the foundation, but creating a pitch letter for a class assignment isn’t the same as actually pitching a journalist.
Lesson Learned: Take feedback and critiques positively, things function differently in the real world for a real client.
Social media is important, but it’s only part of the package.
When I first started my career, I assumed I would be working with social media on a regular basis. Depending on the how a company is structured, the marketing department may handle social media or your role may not be as hands-on with social media.
Lesson Learned: Knowing how to use social media definitely comes in handy, but remember that there are also other skills to focus on in our profession.
Don’t forget about writing.
If you haven’t already guessed, writing is a major part of the job. As a PR professionals, it’s our job to get the message across to our client’s audience in the clearest, most concise way possible. And that takes practice. If you have the time at work ask for an extra writing assignment. Or start your own blog. Either way, write as much as you can to sharpen your skills.
Lesson Learned: Practice makes perfect, write as much you can.
It’s normal to feel like everything you do is wrong.
Over the past two years, there’s always been a day or an entire week where I feel like everything I do is wrong. As a newbie, there’s no way that everything you do will turn out amazing the first time or even the fifth time you do it. Don’t worry, your manager already knows this, they were once a newbie too. They don’t expect you to produce perfect work, they expect you to put in the work.
Lesson Learned: Be open to criticism and direction. Don’t be afraid to mess up and don’t be too proud to ask for help.
My first year as a PR professional was a whirlwind. It was amazing, it was exciting, it was frustrating, it was challenging, it was everything I didn’t expect it to be. Through all the ups and downs, make sure to enjoy the ride!
Cheers to your first years!
Victoria Lightfoot graduated from Georgia State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, concentrating in public relations. She is currently the PR coordinator at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and volunteers on PRSA Georgia’s College Relations Committee and co-chairs the Travel & Tourism Special Interest Group. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn and Twitter (@Victoria_Lenese)