Working for a major public relations firm definitely has its perks.
You get to collaborate with some incredibly talented people (i.e., learn a lot), develop ideas for big-name clients, access advanced training and an abundance of professional development opportunities, and have the support of a global network behind you. And that’s really only scratching the surface in a lot of ways.
But it’s not for everybody.
If you’re in a PR program or are just getting started in the work world and joining a big agency is your goal, here are some things I’ve found through my experiences that may help prepare you and give you a better idea of what to expect:
Have a desire to continuously learn
If you think you will be done learning after graduation, think again. Working in PR in any capacity requires you to continuously learn and grow.
In an agency, where you may cover several client types and industries – all with their own moving parts – it is paramount. Not only do you need to be on top of PR and marketing trends (as with any communications job), but trends in the various industries you represent, too.
Basically you have to be willing to learn and proactively seek ways to learn, every day. I personally think that’s one of the best things about working in PR. And really, who doesn’t love learning while getting paid?
Adapt to change and be flexible
This is kind of obvious after having just told you about the need to enjoy learning, but if you’re going to make it in PR – and more importantly in a PR agency – you need to be nimble. The business is constantly changing and you need to keep up.
On a similar note, if you enjoy routine and following the same basic schedule every day, an agency job may not be for you. There is no typical day in agency life and your days won’t always go to plan.
The key to successfully managing this is to plan ahead with your work as much as possible. That way, if something comes up that requires dropping everything, you won’t have a problem pushing back your other projects for a few hours.
Be smart with your time
As just mentioned, planning your attack when it comes to the various projects you’re working on is key. You will need to be able to estimate how long each project will take you and prioritize. And be sure to use each minute wisely, particularly while your time is being billed to your clients.
Think about everything that you have to have finished by the end of the day and put them in order of importance. Start checking things off! This is something I find definitely requires some focus, especially with the many distractions (e.g., email pop-ups, etc.) that will try to steal your attention.
Hopefully this isn’t scaring you away. Working in a busy global agency is definitely challenging, but I wouldn’t want it any other way, personally. I love that it demands that I stay sharp and be my best every day. And it definitely has its perks on top of the invaluable experience it can provide.
If you like a good challenge, agency life could be just what you’re looking for, and I would definitely recommend going for it!
Have you ever worked at a PR firm? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
Photo credit: Nicolas Mirguet