So i’ve been dabbling in and out of PR employment for the last year and a half now.
I’ve interned at various agencies up and down the UK, including at Tecmark where I currently work. I think interning is a great opportunity and i’d always recommend it whilst you’re studying or maybe just after.
I’ve a bank of good experiences within the PR industry from interning, so you’d think that i’d know it all when I started working full time, yeah?
One of the beauties of working within PR is that you never really know what you’re going to be dealing with day in and day out. There’s always something new to learn. I’m no expert but i’m pretty sure this stands for everyone in the industry. I mean, who expected the digital boom 30 some years ago? But now, all these years later, digital is a huge part of PR. Videos, podcasts, online news, social media and even search engines have all changed and shaped the way in which we do business – so even those who were a dab hand at PR a few years ago have still had to learn something new in more recent times.
Public Relations is a career that’ll set you up for life as there’s so much room for progression; with little room for you to get bored. With it being such an intense and vast industry, if you’re a little fish in a big pond (much like me right now) than it can be a little intimidating and even scary sometimes. So, let’s take the edge off a little. Here’s 5 things (derived from my experiences) that you can expect from your first job in PR.
What to expect from your first job in PR
Number 1: you’ll soon realise that most people are extroverted… (but not everyone!)
This can be pretty daunting if you’re naturally introverted like me.
PR agencies are usually full of confident and sometimes eccentric people, but it doesn’t mean that if you’re the opposite that this is an issue. One of my big inspirations in the industry, Ella Minty, recently raised this issue in one of her famed #PowerandInfluence chats and it gave me great comfort to read the replies of many who argued that introverts and extroverts alike can work within PR. And that in fact, that both sides of the coin are needed to create an effective team. While (in my experience) most people are naturally extroverted within PR, there are also those who do often like to inaudibly get on with things – like myself. While I’m confident enough in giving presentations and speaking in meetings, I also am – and always have been – quite demure.
So yeah, you can expect to meet a lot of big characters in your first job, but don’t feel put out if you’re not one of them at first. (You’ll probably end up as one before long).
Number 2: you’ll think it’s laughable that you used to moan about writing a lot at uni
I kinda knew this from interning, but I learned it even more when I started full time.
Looking back, I think it’s almost cute that I was beside myself with worry about writing 10,000 odd words for my dissertation. When now, I write that (and often more) almost every single day. I think this is a biggie when talking about ‘things you can expect from your first PR job’ because back before I started out in this industry, writing as much as I do certainly wasn’t something i’d have expected.
The thing is though, you’re going to be writing about things that are interesting. Be it blogs or press releases, the content is almost always compelling and therefore it’s enjoyable. Honestly, in PR, work never seems like work.
Number 3: you’ll uncover a creative flare you never knew you had
I mean, you have to a bit of a creative spark to work in PR anyway. But one thing I didn’t expect was just how much your inner creativity would shine through in the job.
I’ll honestly be there thinking of ideas in the shower, in bed and even when i’m out and about. Once you start burning that creative flame, it’s hard to put it out. But this is all fine of course, more often than not you’re going to be pretty happy that you’ve subconsciously cooked up some new ideas when your mind has been elsewhere. This is where a pen and paper (or your ‘notes app’ for the more digitally-savvy) will come in handy. If you can jot all your ideas down when you’re out-of-office and save them for 9am the next morning then you’re on to a winner in this job.
Number 4: and sometimes you’ll have a complete mind block too, just to counteract it (and be annoying)
I don’t know if this goes for everyone, or if it’s just me who’s sometimes creatively-stunted.
There’ll be days where i’m brewing with ideas, and others days where i’m staring at a screen wondering how on earth I ever thought of them in the first place. Initially, this can be kinda demoralising because you’ve probably been conditioned to think that if you work within PR you must always be brimming with new proposals and suggestions.
In the end though, it just makes you realise that on the days that you are channeling creativity (which, by the way, will be most of the time) you need to be making the most of it.
Jot down every single idea that pops in to your head, no matter how wacky and bizarre. This’ll give you something to work with on the days in which you need to give your brain a well deserved ‘chill day’.
Number five: you’ll realise you love this industry!
And finally, I think the biggest thing you’ll realise when you first start working within PR is that you really love it!
Like I’ve mentioned above, if there’s one thing that PR can promise you, it’s that it’s never boring. There’s always something new to learn and keep you on your toes. Forget about learning ‘something [one thing – singular] new every day’, be prepared to learn ‘tons [there’s the plural!] of new things every day’.
Not only this, but the people within this industry really are second to none. You’ll make friends for life and they may not even be your co-workers. We’re a close knit community over here in the PR-sphere and are always about networking with new people. It’s great to meet and know so many people who all share the same interests as you. This is something that I learned pretty soon after working within PR for the first time.
So there you go – 5 things, straight off, about what you can expect from your first job in PR. Honestly, I probably could list a lot more as there’s so much that was ‘new to me’ when I started working full time. However, maybe those are stories for another day.
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