At what age do you begin your professional development? Trick question! That’s like asking a flower, “When will you bloom?” The flower grows when it is ready — and the same goes for budding, public relations (PR) professionals.
My introduction to professionalism was when I decided to pursue a strategic communication degree during my freshman year of college. I began realizing my growth as a young professional when I became an intern at MAPRagency during the spring semester of my senior year. The internship experience catapulted me into my career, straight out of college. Little did I know, the cultivation of my professional confidence ignited as soon as I discovered my passion for PR. My transition to a full-time account coordinator has exposed me to the pace and rhythm of a successful agency. Stepping into this new role and diving into my responsibilities, I know I must rely on my knowledge, communication, and MAPR colleagues to engage with the fast-paced work landscape.
Shadowing to Help Shine
Throughout the beginning stages of my career, I have had the pleasure of shadowing Madison Job, an enthusiastic and dependable account executive. Since we began working together, I have observed how proactive she is and started taking notes. As I acclimate and am getting familiarized with pitch writing, researching, and the organizational duties of my role, I now am being pulled into the immersive experience of joining client calls, sitting in on interviews and observing the conversations that dictate the work I help produce. My favorite part of shadowing is being able to brainstorm and collaborate with Madison while also learning the ropes of media, employee and client relations.
Q&A’s are Your New Best Friend
Never underestimate the power of asking questions, documenting the work being done and goal setting. I have already learned that using a pen and paper to jot down realistic priorities, to-do’s or simple goals and aspirations for the week ahead is invaluable to my success. Daily life in a PR agency is far from simple, so in order to ensure my professional growth and keep track of several moving parts, I ask my team a lot of questions. As a bonus tip, I’ve found that taking a moment to write down ideas and queries does wonders for memory and mindfulness.
Learning Experiences have a Life Cycle
When a person starts at an entry level position, over time they can become an expert in their field. Patience is the key ingredient to lasting success. Once mastery is achieved, the teaching begins and the cycle continues. Throughout the course of my internship, I collected several essential tools needed for efficient research, organization and monitoring details. Now, as a full-time account coordinator, I handle my role and take creative ownership on a daily basis, which allows me to grow professionally with newfound confidence. I love being able to support the learning of those with whom I work because I gain knowledge from them every day. I show up to work to both develop as a PR pro and become a better version of myself. My job is more than a task or a paycheck — it’s the avenue through which I establish my professional identity.
To sum it up, professional development takes on a different meaning for everyone. But regardless of where you work, learning from your colleagues and staying curious will help you blossom into a true professional.