From Intern to AAE – Now What?
June 14, 2017
So you’ve made the jump from intern to your first full-time position in PR. Now what?
Whether you have one internship or four, have been out of college for a year or have just graduated, your first entry level PR role will be sure to challenge you in ways you never anticipated – but that makes it all that more rewarding. Based on my experience as a recent graduate and Assistant Account Executive at Barokas Communications, I’ve put together a highlight reel of things to know when starting your first job in PR:
- Procrastinators and coasters beware
They’re not kidding when they say PR is a fast-paced industry. At Barokas Communications, we’re all rock stars – which means expectations are high and the pace is quick. This isn’t meant to scare you off, in fact it’s meant to encourage and motivate (because who wouldn’t want to work with a bunch of rock stars?). A good rule of thumb when starting your first entry level job in PR is that each project will probably take you slightly longer than you think. As a new AAE, you’re still learning and your coworkers will understand that. Show them you’re on top of things by not only getting tasks done on time, but providing some wiggle room so you have time to incorporate feedback. It will go a long way.
- Stay organized
Have a system. Find what works for you and stick to it! This means knowing what’s going on and who’s doing it, write everything down! The easiest way to miss deadlines is to have something slip off your radar and into the black hole of chicken scratch…believe me – I’ve done it. Develop a way to stay organized, whether that be a personal spreadsheet to record to-do’s, sticky notes or the good ol’ fashion handwritten list. More times than not, your coworkers will have a system that works for them and will be happy to share their tricks of the trade.
- Read. A lot.
Or as I like to say, Always Be Reading. This is especially important when you are starting to work on an account in a field that is ‘new to you.’ Invest the time upfront to become an expert on the industry – it will boost your confidence and give your client confidence in your recommendations. As an AAE, you should read up on industry trends related to your accounts, determine which topics are making headlines, and bring your pitch ideas to your next internal team meeting. Not only will your account leads notice and appreciate the effort, it will also show progress in mastering core AAE responsibilities.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
Falling behind on your workload? Communicate. Starting a project? Communicate. Had an amazing weekend? Communicate. Do you get where I’m going with this? You would think that as communicators, this would come easy. However, communicating as a team is not always as easy as it sounds. The best way to build trust with your teammates and ensure the account moves smoothly is to be constantly sharing and talking about the next steps. Something that has helped me is the age old saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” When you eventually lead an account, you don’t want to be constantly wondering if your supporting team saw your email or is on track to meet a pressing deadline – you’d want them to tell you! When it doubt, overshare. It may seem annoying to your team, but more often than not they’ll appreciate it.
- Volunteer and be uncomfortable
You’re not going to know what you’re doing 100% of the time. Even the most seasoned PR pros questions themselves at times to ensure the best outcome. As an AAE, this can be to your advantage if you take control and own it. If there’s a pitch or an event/award nomination that needs to be drafted, volunteer! The only way you’re going to learn and grow is to step out of your comfort zone and learn to do things you haven’t before. Not only will it show your initiative, but you’ll realize these things aren’t as daunting as they seem. Give it your best go, asking as many questions as you need to get the job done right.
- Enjoy the ride!
Time will fly by. In your new role, you’ll meet some of the most impressive and badass people you ever have before. Enjoy the fun silly moments and embrace new friendships with your coworkers. We’re all here because we love what we do and it’s the laughing, joke telling and playful jabs that make every day fun to come to Barokas Communications.