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Things We Wish We Knew When We Started PR

As the industry starts the year with a pool of new talent joining the ranks, some with intern experience and others without, we thought it was fitting to share some things we wish we knew when we started our careers. While some of these tips are often outlined when starting a new job, it can take a while for the advice to really sink in and be applied. So here’s your head start – take these tips on board NOW and thanks us later.

  1. No question is a silly question

This can seem like an obvious one, and it’s often the first thing you’re told when you start a new job, but still we feel the need to act independently, and problem solve before asking for help. This is a huge time waster for an agency. Spending time trying to google an answer can be a quick fix if there’s a new acronym you’re not familiar with, but often tasks are more nuanced to the agency – so googling won’t get you anywhere. Best to ask straight up if you can be shown a step by step or watch someone else perform the task first so you fully understand the first time. You will come to learn the value in admitting when you don’t know how to do something.

  1. Take notes, always

While it’s common to write things down on your first day or week at a job, given there is a mountain of new practices being thrown your way, it’s important to keep this habit up as you progress. While some senior staff may find it easiest to give verbal assignments or feedback, you should be conscious of writing this down so you can always refer back to it. Same goes for the point above; when you ask a question, ensure to write down the response as it’s likely it’ll take a while for it to become common knowledge. This can be physical notes or on your laptop, whatever works for you (although physically writing something out is proven to be more effective for memory).

  1. Work is work

The corporate world can take a little to adjust to – whether it’s the early starts to cater for your commute after years of sleeping in for Uni, or the office dynamic of navigating friendships with people of all ages. Some helpful notes:

  • read the room – if your colleagues start discussing their weekend, join in the conversation and take interest in their life.
  • know the line – on the same vein, if they don’t provide a detailed recap of their wild Saturday night, neither should you.
  • manners matter – something as simple as greeting your colleagues on arrival or asking them if they want a coffee can go a long way. Most importantly, act appropriately at work events (regardless of inside/outside normal hours).
  • dress code – it’s safe to assume most offices dress in corporate wear, so go into the role looking as professional as possible. From there, you can gauge the dress code from others.
  1. Realistic workload

Impressing your boss is often the number one priority when you start a new role. We can be quick to say yes to everything thrown our way, regardless of our skillset or capacity – potentially leaving us overwhelmed and overworked. Ensure to keep track of tasks allocated to you, and a realistic timeframe for each. If it should take 3hr and it takes you 5hr, ask for feedback on how to become more efficient. In the same vein, don’t overcommit yourself to 20 tasks all with an urgent deadline – be realistic about your workload and don’t be afraid to say, “I would love to help but I’m working on XYZ urgent tasks, where does this new task fall in the priorities?”

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