Starting My Career in the PR Industry: What I Did That Helped & What I Wish I Would Have Known

Well, I’m straight out of college and have my first job in the public relations industry. Catapult PR gave me a home after graduation, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Now that first week jitters have come and gone it’s the perfect time to reflect on my thoughts from this past couple of weeks.

Arriving at Catapult on my first day wasn’t at all bad. I had met everyone throughout the interview process, so seeing them again made me a bit more comfortable considering I didn’t have to struggle to remember their names: #Levelup. Starting at Catapult was pretty breezy, but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of emails and calendar requests I was about to receive in my shiny new company email inbox: 42, that’s the amount I had to sort through after first sitting down at my desk. Granted most were easy calendar/event requests that only required a quick yes/no reply but my initial reaction was not calm.

In the first week at an agency, it’s no lie when they tell you that there will be tons of information thrown at you, especially working at a firm that focuses on technology. You’re learning about the agency’s best practices, but also about the different accounts that you will support and what your roles/responsibilities will entail. At first, this dump of information seemed confusing, but by the second and third day, the dots were starting to connect. The more chances I got to learn about the different clients the clearer everything seemed to get.

Just to make it a little easier, here are some quick tips to help anyone survive in their first PR job at an agency:

  • Do your homework before you show up.
    Understanding the industry you are going to be interacting with before walking in on your first day can always be a big help. Usually, this will already be done before the interview, but it’s always nice to refresh now that you don’t have to think about landing the job.
  • Speak up if you don’t quite understand.
    Everyone on the Catapult team has been very understanding. If something is unclear you should always ask for clarification. It’s better to have a voice and know when you need help than to stay quiet and make more mistakes.
  • Learn to prioritize and stay organized.
    Learning to be organized when starting a new position is key to helping your job go a little smoother in a fast-paced PR environment. I’m still working this out for myself but getting better everyday.
  • Tips from coworkers are the best
    Okay, this is just universal for every job, but if a coworker gives you any information on how to make your time more productive or to make others in the office happier, take it. Many of my coworkers at Catapult have helped me with this, and the first couple of days I would jokingly say, “have any tips for me?” but in reality, I was completely serious. That stuff is gold.

These tips may seem pretty straightforward, but these were things that really helped me out. As a result, starting the next week after orientation seemed to flow easily. A trend that was said a number of times while in the interview process and during my first week was, “We wear a lot of hats.” I’m learning how true this statement is.

To anyone starting their new job in the PR industry, I urge you to consider using the first week for any organizing you might need to get done. This includes reading through any and all documents you can get your hands on to help you better wrap your head around each account. The agency life gets crazy at times (mostly if you are new to it) but the best thing you can do is ask questions, seriously.