Category Archives: Workplace Lessons

I’m BACK…OR 5 Lessons I’ve Learned as an Account Coordinator

Hey there! Did you miss me? You probs did, it’s ok to admit it. I missed you too. But, we need to get down to business: where have I been? Still working as an AC here in New York (which is freezing, BTW).

So, on to what’s really real about this blog post: what have I learned as Account Coordinator? Well, sit yourself down and I will tell you a thing:

  1. I cannot stress how important ORGANIZATION is: Seriously, you guys, organization is something I struggle with every day and when I was in university or reading blogs and they kept talking about organization I was like, “OMG who cares?” but like, everybody cares. And once you’re on 3 (or more) accounts, juggling agendas, reports, coverage, and pitching and securing opportunities? You’ll care, too.
  2. Take ownership of your tasks: What does this mean? Well, let’s say that you are in charge of ALL client agendas (which you probably will be), make them yours. Let your team know that you’ve got them and rock those agendas. The further up you move, the more you will have to take OWNERSHIP of things, so learn this now.
  3. Volunteer to take on additional projects, but don’t take on more than you can handle: Hey, I get it, you want to show people that you are proactive and up for a challenge. BUT if it gets in the way of doing your assigned duties, it kind of negates the desired effect. Make sure you have your job down and then reach for another project
  4. It is OK to be lost/stuck/overwhelmed/whatever: This is a tough business, and contrary to what Kelli Cutrone says, you can always be tough and not ask for help. ASK FOR HELP. Wait, let me repeat that: ASK FOR HELP. If your day is too packed, you don’t know where to start on a new project or you are just plum on your last string, then ask. Let it be known that you need more support. Because keeping your mouth closed won’t help in the end, trust me
  5. The biggest lesson I learned? Don’t every give up! Can I be honest with you? December was a very rough month for me; lots of client expectations, lots of long hours and I honestly felt like I was at the end of my rope. But I was honest with my supervisors and asked for additional support, and at the end of the day I pushed through and did not just throw my hands up. It will get better, I promise!

Well, that’s it in what seems to be the LONGEST post ever -_- Have you learned any lessons in your tenure at your new job? Let me know!

In other exciting news, I am going to sit down and write a few posts on landing your first PR job, because well, I guess I’ve done it and may know a thing or two…look out for it!

XOXO,

Jess_AsPRing

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When it’s all over…my final impressions of a big agency

Hey all! As you may or may not know, for the past several months, I have been working for a fairly large and well-known agency here in San Francisco, I wrote about my initial impressions in this post and I just wanted to sum up my experiences and give you some advice my supervisor gave me.

big vs little

BTW, the largest and smallest dogs in the world!

So are there really any big advantages of working for a big firm? Yes there are! They have tons of resources and usually “big-name” clients, they also usually have more formal training and a larger talent pool to learn lessons from and take inspiration from

So what are the drawbacks? I think I went over this before, but the drawbacks for me were that I just wasn’t able to work on the variety of projects I wanted to, or jump on all of the accounts I was interested in. This is because in a larger agency, there are a lot more systems in place that are totally necessary to keep that larger wheel spinning. I also felt like I didn’t get very many chances for media outreach, which is really important to me this early in my career.

Would you go back to a large agency? Yes, I would, but maybe not as an intern or an account coordinator, my supervisor gave me some great advice at my exit interview, “start small, my first job was at a firm with three people and I learned so much, as I’ve gotten further in MY career, the firms have gotten bigger, as well” this made TOTAL sense to me because in the beginning, I want to be thrown in the fray and really get my hands dirty doing the things I LOVE. However, if one of the “biggies” reaches out to me, I’m not going to scoff, I guess it’s all up to what opportunities present themselves during my career.

So WHAT about ending my internship?!  I ALREADY showed you that in my awesome post Ending That Internship with Flair! so go check it out and make sure to get your thank you cards out ASAP!

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the firm; I met a lot of really great people and I learned a lot. I am moving back to a boutique agency in January, so I’m sure I will have PLENTY to say about that! Until then, I’m kicking my heels up and patting myself on the back for a job well-done. Enjoy the break, I have something pretty cool in store for you over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that, until then…

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Professionalism & 5 tips to quickly attain it and keep it.

This is a special Sunday “Workday Lessons” post because yesterday evening, something happened to me and it had a profound impact on me…but not in a good way. Let me give you the short of it:

A very good friend of mine decided to have a big birthday bash and one of the planned activities was a private group dance class with the ladies & we all paid our money in advance and were organized and ready for a fun experience…but then the day came–we were in the WORST little hole in the wall, the class wasn’t set up, there were strange people there, it was a mess. Long story short, the event coordinator not only did not do due diligence on the venue nor the set-up, but when confronted, she refused to take blame for the mix up! And I’m just like:

Umm…have you ever heard of professionalism?!?! I guess not. Anyway, I had to write this post because as entry-level PR/Social Media pros, we need to be MORE professional than our senior peers and more discerning in our behaviour. Here are a few ways YOU can show your boss you are a true professional:

  1. Dress professionally: Okay okay, you worked ALL winter for that six pack or killer arms, I get it. But the office is NOT the place to show them off. Even if everybody is running around in basketball shorts, you should err on the side of caution and that means NO ripped jeans, flip flops, spaghetti straps or strapless tops, mini skirts (I don’t care how thick the tights are you put under it!) and nothing with offensive language on it.
  2. Speak professionally: Unless you’re Axl Rose, your job probably doesn’t entail saying any of the four-letter words; or anything else offensive. Here’s a good rule of thumb: would you say it in front of your mom/pastor/dad/granny (basically someone you respect and are more formal with)? Then don’t shout it out at work
  3. Communicate professionally. I mean specifically with e-mails or any other type of written communication. Grammar and puncuation are highly scrutinized in our field; if your boss sees that you can’t even spell check a darn inter-office memo, why on earth would he or she let you pitch to a journalist? Hint: They probably won’t. This isn’t a text message, so no: LOLz, OMG, BRB, LOHINNO (I have NO idea what that one even means) and for heaven’s sake, skip the emoticons.
  4. Take criticism professionally: I know it’s hard to take criticism, specially in such a fast-paced field such as PR where we need to hit the ground running and we are given high expectations. But, when your boss sits you down to go over why your report wasn’t up to par or that pitch wasn’t cutting it, please remember they aren’t doing it for fun, but to help you. Stay calm, take notes and learn from the experience. And thank them and say you are taking this is all in consideration and will improve. I even like to ask questions on how I can avoid making the same mistake again–I want to show them that I want to be the best I can be.
  5. Think professionally: This is the most important one; if you sense yourself on the edge of a bad decision or even think you are stepping out of bounds, think, “is this really exuding professionalism?” chances are, if you have to ask, it probably isn’t. Have a little common sense and don’t fall into the stereotype of silly, over-privileged and unprofessional millenials.

Well, those are my little five tips and you may be thinking, “Jess is just an entry-level’er too, what the HECK does she know?” The truth is, I am only new to PR, I worked for corporate America for about 3-4 years before this and had a job 3 years before moving into corporate America, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s professional and what isn’t. Hope you can get a little something out of this post, if so, please comment below and let me know! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Workplace Lessons: What to Say & What to NOT Say

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday (aren’t you glad you made it through Monday?!) so, today’s post is the first in a NEW series called “Workplace Lessons” which will have (what I think are) valuable lessons I have learned in the workplace and will hopefully stop you from making mistakes that could cost you your job or worse, your reputation. And since we work in PR, we all KNOW how important reputation is, right? Right.

Today’s topic is one I, myself, sometimes have trouble with: what to say and when to say it in the workplace. Here’s the scenario: you and some co-workers are talking about a client you all have problems with and they are all RIPPING into this client and you join in and you’re all laughing. The next week, however, everyone is avoiding eye contact with you or acting distant and you get an e-mail from your supervisor saying you and him/her need to “talk”. Let me say, it doesn’t end well…but what did you do wrong? Let me break it down for you:

  1. You spoke ill of a client, and while I understand others may be doing it; but that’s their prerogative and they are probably more senior to you anyway. You cannot afford to start your career out with a reputation of a being blabbermouth or a gossip or someone that speaks ill of clients. They DO pay the bills after all.
  2. You forgot where you were and who you were with! It is so easy to want to “fit in” and make friends with your coworkers and while I know coworkers can become friends (I have some friendships that started out in the workplace), it’s important to remember that they are primarily your coworkers and you need to maintain a level of professionalism.

If you haven’t made this mistake yet: congratulations. If you have made this mistake and want to know how to fix it, it’s pretty simple. Apologize to your supervisor and let him/her know that it will NEVER happen again. You can also let each co-worker involved know that you did not mean those comments and they were out of line. I know this sounds embarrassing…BUT being seen as the company blabbermouth & possibly being fired for it is even more embarrassing, right? I thought so.

Your career is based on your talent and drive and passion, but office politics have a lot to do with it and if you don’t put on your best Obama or Romney game face, you could fall flatter than Ralph Nader on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November (which is historically election day, know your history people!).

Hope you like this new series and as always, drop me a line, here, on Linkedin or on Twitter!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing