Tips & Tricks: Need-to-Know for the New PR Pro

It’s graduation season! And to all who are graduating this month, congratulations on your achievement. This is an exciting time when you are just kicking off your career. Transitioning from student to professional is a big jump and may make you feel anxious at times, but remember you have a network of professionals in PRSA Detroit who are here to help you along the way – I would know, because I’m one of them.

With that in mind, here are a few need-to-know tips for new pros to keep in mind.

Don’t Stop Job Shadowing

When you were a student, you may have attended a job shadow through your PRSSA chapter or even on your own. This provides an opportunity to see a professional at work and gain a better understanding of what a ‘typical’ day is like, if such a thing exists.

Once you get into your first professional role, it will be easy to simply focus on the task-at-hand. While meeting your deadlines with quality work is important, don’t fall into a state of complacency. It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with your boss and express that you are interested in opportunities to keep growing. You may have an opportunity to attend meetings with her or him, where you can expand your network within your organization. This brings me to my next point.

Networking Isn’t an External-Only Thing

When I started, I considered networking something I would do at PRSA Detroit events. While that is accurate, there is much more to networking than that.

If you are working with a smaller organization, you may meet everyone within a quick amount of time. If you’re working in a larger organization with thousands of staff, you may never meet everyone. But, look for opportunities to meet as many as you can. This might include employee gatherings or attending meetings with your boss (like we talked about above). Networking within an organization is important because you build relationships with internal stakeholders who will help you be more effective in your role. You want to maximize your effectiveness whenever you can, plus it’s fun just getting to know more of your colleagues.

Tone Matters

Getting comfortable communicating in a professional environment comes naturally for some and takes a little more work for others. When making requests of others, try to avoid sounding demanding or pushy. Being direct isn’t necessarily either of those but try to convey that you understand they’re busy too, and you are making a request – not a demand. As professional communicators, we are always improving upon our craft, and that includes interpersonal skills. At the end of the day, be empathetic towards others and always follow the ‘golden rule’ – treat others how you’d like to be treated.

Set Realistic Expectations

“Can you get this to me today?”

You’re going to be asked this question, probably lots of times. In some cases, you may able to provide whatever it is that’s needed by end of day, but in time, your workload is going to increase and there will be times when it’s not possible to turn a project around that quickly. Part of being an effective communicator is setting realistic expectations for your clients – both internal and external. If they absolutely need something same-day and you have another time-sensitive project, don’t hesitate to ask your boss or colleagues for help or guidance. Teamwork makes the dream work and it’s invaluable in the world of PR.

These are just a few of many tips and tricks you’ll pick up along the way. Remember to enjoy the journey as you establish your professional life and grow upward and onward. I certainly don’t have all the answers – no one has all the answers – but I’m happy to provide guidance and help, should you ever need it. Shoot me an email at [email protected]. Best of luck as you begin your career!

Jeff Adkins is a public relations specialist with Henry Ford Health System, and a member of both PRSA National and PRSA Detroit.