The Little Things Matter: How to Act in the Workplace

It’s your first day at your new job and you are feeling a lot of pressure. What do you wear? How do you act? Do you go around talking to everyone or do you stay behind your computer screen and starting knocking out all of the press releases that were assigned?

We’ve all been there. Being in the workplace as a new graduate is thrilling, yet overwhelming. You no longer get to rely on excuses, but rather are required to give your best each and every day, all while being a team player. WHEW!

Little Things That Make a Difference in the WorkplaceHow do you accomplish fitting in and knowing how to act?  Follow these four tips that will surely make you a part of the team and not just the “new” person.

  1. If the coffee pot is low, fill it up

If you know anything about public relations, you know that professionals need their coffee. Between juggling demanding clients and extinguishing the flame in a recent crisis, their veins are filled with caffeine. If you notice that the coffee is getting low, replenish it. Be a team player – even if you don’t drink it. Most likely though, three cups a day will eventually be the norm for you.

  1. Always say “Good Morning”

I know that not everyone is born a natural extrovert, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. Even though it may be awkward at first, say good morning when passing by desks. I promise you that your colleagues will not bite you. The best way to fit in is to engage in conversations and possess a positive attitude. I, by all means, am not trying to stereotype communications professionals, but you should be able to communicate and engage with others easily.

  1.  Participate

Whether it be a brainstorm session or drinks after work, get involved. To be a team player means you need to be a part of a team. You were hired for a reason, so join in on the fun. A lot of agencies will have monthly meetings or webinars that you can benefit from. You should always go to those. Continuing to learn is the continuation of success. It also doesn’t hurt that you have the opportunity to make new friends who have similar interests.

  1. Treat the company like it is your own

I don’t advise acting like you own the company, but rather be a great representation about what your company stands for. Whether that is your presence on social media, greeting clients as they are in the waiting room, or even picking up trash around the office – act as if the company is your own. It also doesn’t hurt to have the mindset that you are working like the CEO. A CEO is usually putting in extra hours, so it may be nice every once in a while to switch up your morning routine and pop into the office early to start cranking out work.

Even though a few of these tips may seem silly, they are practical and will get you more comfortable in your new setting. There aren’t etiquette books for new employees, but it’s always said that the little things matter. The two biggest things that everything contributes back to are your attitude and effort. Once those are in line – your work and friendships will start to bloom.

CS Katie Headshot copyAside from stalking the latest fashion trends and blogging about the best shoes to buy, Katie Wenclewicz enjoys everything and anything media relations. Katie graduated from Anderson University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing. Currently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, Katie is a publicist at Bohlsen Group.  From heading national campaigns to staying active in the Hoosier PRSA chapter, she is a valuable PR tool for young professionals. Connect with Katie on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Conquering the Awkward Stage at Work: A Young Pro’s Guide

Being a young professional is hard sometimes. Between work/life balance and climbing the career ladder, it’s a challenge to navigate this stage of life.

Conquering the Awkward Stage at Work: A Young Pro’s GuideAs a young PR professional, hard work alone is not enough to get you noticed. You must learn to build and leverage relationships, develop leadership skills, and stand out amongst your peers to achieve success in the awkward stage between an entry level position and a managerial role.

Here are a few ways to navigate your career when you’re in the stage between recent graduate and mid-level employee, so you don’t feel like you are in career purgatory:

Raise Your Hand

Build your reputation at work by volunteering for side projects or taking on extra responsibility. You want to show your team and bosses that you are willing to take initiative to help the team stay on track, are reliable and engaged in the company, and committed to the growth of your career.

When working on projects out of your day to day task, you are able to network with colleagues in different departments and learn skills that will benefit you in the long run. Your superiors will take note and soon enough you’ll get the promotion you’re dreaming of.

Attend Conferences

The learning doesn’t stop after college. In addition to reading the news and case studies, attend conferences and webinars. There is a wealth of information out there to help you grow as an employee and it’s even better when you can learn from industry professionals.

Conferences and webinars give you the ability to learn about new industry trends, network with professionals of all levels, and hopefully encourage a new way of thinking about your career. As markets evolve, you have to make sure you stay sharp and ahead of the curve.

Join Professional Groups

There is power in numbers and professional groups are a great way to get ahead. Networking opportunities and mentor/mentee relationships are great reasons for joining professional groups but the biggest perk is being able to serve on a committee.

When you are active in an organization, you see the impact of the different functions that make an organization work.

Pick Up a Side Hustle

All work and no play makes John and Jane dull employees. As much as you invest in your career, invest in your passion.

Your side hustle can be anything from doing PR for a local band in your city or planning events for a non-profit you believe in. Stay well rounded and follow your heart. You don’t have to go through a quarter-life crisis!

Speak Up

Don’t be intimidated in meetings and brainstorming sessions; you were hired for a reason so show the team what you can bring to the table. It is your job as a young professional to give a fresh perspective.

Have the confidence to speak up on opportunities a client can take advantage of, share your viewpoints while developing strategies, and most importantly don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The road to success is not a straight one, but you steer the wheel. Taking initiative and developing leadership skills is key to your success as a young professional. Do you have any suggestions on navigating your career when you’re not quite a recent graduate but not yet a manager?

Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-NCC, focuses on building community through dynamic events and engaging online marketing as a freelance integrated communications professional in Washington, DC. Keep up with her on Twitter at @LoveJasPR or visit 

Three Ways to Keep on Your Game During the Job Hunt

3Graduation time is here, but what do you do if you haven’t lined up your first full-time job in the field? Don’t panic; you’re not alone. According to, it could take between three and nine months for a new graduate to find employment in his/her industry. Here are some ways to keep your skills sharp while you look for work.

Write. A lot.

Top-notch writing skills are a must in the competitive PR job market. The more often you practice your writing and editing, the more of an advantage you have over other candidates. Start a blog with a free service like WordPress or Blogger and write as often as you can (Tip: Keep the subject matter PG since a potential employer could see it.).

There are several resources online and via social media you can use to answer questions about grammar and style. Check out Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty on Her blog has tons of great tips to turn any writer into a pro. Also, follow The AP Style Book on Twitter. The guide is updated every spring, and it is a good idea to stay on top of the changes.

Utilize PRSA and its resources.

Sure. Maybe it’s a shameless plug, but membership in the PRSA provides you with some priceless resources – and most of them are literally priceless. While you’re job hunting, keep learning by participating in any one of the hundreds of free webinars available to you as a member. You can register for upcoming live webinars or browse the years of archived trainings available on demand.

In addition to the webinars, has an extensive job center with new listings added each day. You can find articles on prepping your resume, interviewing techniques, and PR salary standards. You can take a career assessment to find out what job you’re best suited for. PRSA even offers a mentor match service so you can find a veteran in the field to act as your guide and sounding board.

Stay active in your community.

There is no such thing as too much networking. Many metropolitan areas have networking groups for young professionals to stay connected to one another to build relationships and reputations in the community. Join one of these organizations and participate in as many activities as you can. The connections you make through this avenue may very well lead to the full-time job you’re looking for.

While you’re not working full time, take this opportunity to volunteer in your community. Pick an organization that you admire and offer your services, whether it is related to public relations or filing and answering phones. Most non-profits won’t turn down the offer of free assistance. You’re getting the opportunity to use your skills or learn something new while they get to see how hard you work. When a full-time position comes open, you’ll be at the top of their list.

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan, a yogi and also owns and operates an online store selling essential oils and natural products. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at


How to Learn Social Media Protocol at a New Job

There are basic ground rules for what is appropriate for social media. Nothing obscene, offensive, downright false – the obvious stuff.

But when you start a new job, there are always more nuanced guidelines to adapt to.

How to Learn Social Media Protocol at a New JobThe best way to ensure you’re on the right track is to be as informed about your new company’s social media protocol as possible. Here’s how:

Do your research.

Take a look at your organization or company’s Twitter feed. Browse their Instagram profile. What has been popular on their Facebook page?

Don’t forget to look at what other brands are doing as well. See what hashtags are used by the accounts your company follows and peruse the posts attached to them.

Doing your research will help you learn what content is appropriate and relevant, and will ensure you understand your organization’s social media tone.

Ask questions.

The only way to make sure you are 100 percent certain about what is appropriate is to enlist the help of your colleagues.

When you’re the newbie, your coworkers are all experts. In an agency, you may have the advantage of working with a host of social media gurus. If you work in-house, you may not have as many PR pros to lean on, but I guarantee all of your coworkers know way more about their department or field than you do.

I work for a nonprofit dedicated to the great outdoors, and I thought that curating content for social media would be pretty easy.

Just tweet things about hiking and post scenic pictures on Instagram. Right?


Have we tweeted enough about cyclists and hikers?

How much do we want to talk about hunting?

It’s a polarizing topic, but it’s also one of the main funding streams of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, an organization we give half of our funds to. And don’t even get me started on sage grouse. I was woefully unaware that listing an animal as an endangered species was anything but something to be celebrated. Fortunately, I had super knowledgeable coworkers to set me straight.

If you see room for improvement, speak up.

Adapting to your employer or organization’s social media practices is important, but you were presumably hired because you have good ideas. If you think you have an idea to improve engagement, gain followers, or simply provide better content, than say so.

Do so in a professional and thoughtful manner. Don’t tell your boss that you simply can do a better job with Twitter, show them how you can improve your organization’s Twitter account with a well thought out content plan.

Continue to seek out knowledge.

There are only two of us that make up the communications department where I work. This is great because I was given nearly immediate autonomy over social media, but the lack of oversight when I first started was as daunting as it was exciting.

Knowledge is power. Seek it out. (Click to tweet!)

You’re already facing a steep learning curve when you start a new job, and you have the responsibility to continue to expand your skillset to make sure you do the best job possible. A new position is certainly cause for celebration, but don’t rest on your laurels.

Make an effort to try out new tools and platforms, continue to update yourself on best practices, and never think you know everything about social media. It is constantly evolving, and you owe it to yourself and your new employer to continue to the best the best you can be.

Laura Cardon 

Laura Cardon is a public relations professional living in Denver, CO. Originally from Maryland, Laura enjoys riding horses, hiking, and volunteering at the Denver Animal Shelter. In her spare time, Laura also shares her passion for the great outdoors with fellow beginner outdoors enthusiasts on her blog, Outdoors Beginner. Find her on Twitter @LauraCardon23.