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What to Expect From Your First Job in Public Relations

4044035753 207b9c04a7 What to Expect From Your First Job in Public RelationsThis is a post from PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

Congratulations! You made it and now you’re about to start a brand new job, your first real job in PR.

Here’s what you can expect:

What seems impossible at first becomes the norm: whether it’s learning to differentiate the editors of the Times and the Journal, understand the pet peeves of multiple managers or simply use the phone at your desk, there are a lot of new things to get used to. But I guarantee that you will learn the ropes, it just takes time.

You’ve left your comfort zone behind: good-bye roommates – perhaps you’re saying hello to some new ones? – and adios to campus life where you’re surrounded by hundreds of students whose lives are similar to yours.  Now you’re working with people of all levels of experience and backgrounds (who all have something different to offer).

Your dream job may seem like a nightmare at times: that’s why they call it a job, not a hobby.  Industry veteran Todd Defren offers this advice on the benefits of sticking with it in his Open Letter to Millennials.

You will meet the people who will influence the rest of your career: in every kind of way the people you meet at your first job – your direct supervisor, the president of the company and everyone else will have an impact on you.

It’s not over now that you’ve got the job; in fact, it’s just begun: you probably don’t need to wear your interview suit to work every day now, but that doesn’t mean no one is watching. Keep cultivating your personal brand and continuing your personal growth.

PR is a service-oriented vocation (yeah, like waitressing): in-house PR departments are often required to serve the needs of the CEO and executive team, the sales force and HR department; PR agency employees serve the needs of their clients. Often that means working with frequent interruptions and changing priorities. Public relations offices are busy places where schedules are continually rearrange to meet deadlines, attend meetings and travel.

School may be over, but you’ll learn a lot in the next year — Although your internship and courses will give you a great start, PR is definitely a learn-on-the-job career that can’t be taught in the classroom,  You’re learning not just how to do the best PR you can but also the ins and outs of the industry you serve. Whether you’re learning to write for new medium, messages and levels of urgency or brainstorming new pitch ideas, each day in PR brings new challenges and lessons.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on LindsayOlson.com. Learn more her here.




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6 Comments - Add yours!

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, Assistant Professor of Communication, Curry College (April 28th, 2010)

Alison ~ Thank you for a concise, clear, “welcome to reality” post. I have shared your thoughts with my public relations students who, hopefully, will read, heed and, ultimately…lead our profession! ~ Kirk

Alison (April 28th, 2010)

Thanks Kirk!

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