I have reached many conclusions in the short time that I have worked in the public relations industry: the work is interesting, the clients are challenging, and the breakroom snacks are making me fat. I’ve also found that there are many young professionals like myself just entering the industry, making it more difficult to stand out at a firm. You can easily go into the office and take care of daily activities with no issue. The challenge is establishing yourself in the office and climbing up the industry ladder. Here are a few of the tips that I’ve gathered for ultimately succeeding.
- Establish yourself as a strong writer: A former colleague of mine once said, “If you can write well, you will never be out of a job,” and I have made it a point to take that advice with me going forward. In a public relations firm, this advice applies to client-facing works including op-eds, press releases and client-facing memos, and to emails and other internal documents that will never reach the client’s desk. If you consistently write concise, well-worded material, your superiors will trust you and see you as a valuable asset to any client team. Any way you slice it, the primary goal of a firm is to help clients communicate effectively—write effectively and show that you are dedicated to helping the firm accomplish this goal.
- Learn your clients: In our industry, you will encounter a wide range of clients from healthcare to tax reform to manufacturing to telecommunications. Obviously, no one can be an expert in all of these areas, but it is vital to understand what you’re working on. To truly stand out at a firm, steep yourself in the issues at hand. Begin with the client’s website and their previous work, then educate yourself with media clips relevant to the client. This in-depth client knowledge leads to better client-facing products and will make you a valuable participant in client meetings.
- Do the little things right: Theo Epstein, baseball legend and one of my personal heroes, often talks about the “20% Rule.” Essentially, Epstein says that your boss would prefer not to do 20 percent of his or her job, and the best way to succeed in your position is by taking care of that 20 percent. Whether it’s media coverage, list building or printing documents for review, it’s important to remember two things: it has worth to whomever you are doing it for, and you need to do it right. Taking care of this type of work in a succinct manner without any errors on a regular basis is the surest way to avoid it in the future. As a young member of a firm, it shows initiative, attention to detail and an appetite for more challenging work.
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