Growing Into Your Professional Self: Tips from a First-Time Communicator

Just landed your first professional gig? Here are some tricks to help navigate the public relations world at the entry-level.

You’ve submitted countless applications, you’ve set Indeed as your default browser and your LinkedIn profile is so polished that you can see your reflection. And then, one fateful day, you score an interview. The next thing you know, you’ve landed your first professional gig.

If this is you – congrats!

For me, that position was with communications consulting firm FrazierHeiby, as the agency’s first-ever apprentice. After two months of growth, challenges and adjustment, I’ve picked up a few tricks to help navigate the public relations world at the entry-level.

Be a Sponge

You’re not going to know everything on day one – that’s normal – but there is always something to learn. Make sure to:

  • Keep your ears perked.
  • Take notes as often as possible, even if you don’t fully understand the discussion.
  • Ask questions. While there aren’t dumb ones, some are better than others. Be inquisitive and curious. Plus, your supervisors will love it.
  • Use your resources to better understand the landscape you’re working in.

As communicators, it’s our job to be knowledgeable on a gamut of industries and connected to the human experience that they impact. Soak up every bit of information that you can.

Say “Yes”

If you can help it, never say no to an assignment.

The PR challenges that businesses face are abundant and diverse, and they evolve by the day. Comm professionals offer a wide range of services to accommodate these needs.  

Take advantage of every opportunity to accomplish something and your skillset will grow at a rapid rate. The quickest way to become a versatile – and valuable – asset to your organization is to make yourself available, not to mention everyone loves a team player.

Tackle Challenges Your Team Doesn’t Know It’s Facing

Ultimately, this profession is about thinking critically. Successful communicators see the whole picture and track down creative solutions to problems that would otherwise be missed in the periphery.

Finding ways to make something operate more smoothly and yield better results is a strong indicator of a curious mind. Whether the idea supplements your organization internally or makes a client’s life easier, your potential will not go unnoticed.

Trust Yourself, Energize and Own It

It’s not uncommon to experience doubt in a new position, but be sure to give yourself some grace. You will be as impressive as the guy at the next desk. Just try to remember that he’s been in the game for ten years and you’ve been at it for ten days.

In the meantime, think about the soft skills you already possess. Even if they don’t appear to be useful to your work on the surface, there are ways to apply them. Maybe you’re an excellent event planner, a good listener or a thoughtful friend. Perhaps something from your academic past can offer a new perspective on a client project that your team is tackling. No matter what it is, it energizes you and it’s yours to offer. Take ownership and run with it; find passion in the work that you do and you will blossom from rookie to rockstar in no time.

Noah Richelsen, Apprentice, FrazierHeiby