Hard work, long nights, endless cups of coffee later, and suddenly you’re fully in the midst of your career. You may have recently been promoted, been made the lead on an account, or find yourself doling out (some pretty amazing) advice to a new crop of interns. Good things are happening in your career!
First, take a step back and notice what’s happening. You’re doing it! You’re making your way through the ranks. Communications positions are notoriously fast-paced (not just in your working environment, but in how quickly media consumption habits change), which means it’s easy to get swept up in client demands and deadlines and forget to truly notice that you are succeeding. Now that you’ve realized (and hopefully celebrated) that you’re truly getting into the swing of things, now is a good time to take a step back and reassess or reinforce your professional goals. Here are a few 5 questions to ask yourself:
DO I WANT TO SPECIALIZE?
Going from Intern to Assistant Publicist to Account Director requires you to move from a position of following instructions and absorbing information, to being a leader who directs her team. In that process, you will have learned a ton about your strengths, weaknesses, preferences and limits.
One of the most common things we realize at this stage is that there are certain aspects of the job we enjoy more than others. While no one loves tracking their time, some of us enjoy the hustle of pitching editors, while others thrive as social media managers. Start to think about whether or not you’d like to specialize – whether that is in a subject area, like event marketing or analytics, or a particular target audience, Latina females under 30 perhaps, or a facet of the fashion or lifestyle industry, like athleticwear, eco-beauty.
WHAT IS MY BOSS STYLE?
Think about the different managers that you have had throughout your career and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. What traits encouraged you to do your best work, and what aspects of their leadership style caused more harm than good? As you continue to rise in the ranks, you’ll be looked up to as an example by incoming interns or new junior staff and it’s important to have a clear plan for how you plan to lead.
WHO CAN I MENTOR?
Our industry thrives on relationships and collaboration. Now that you have a handle on your career, you might want to think about giving back a bit. Whether you join a professional organization, mentor someone on your team or volunteer in some capacity, you can now lend your knowledge, experience, and contacts to an aspiring PR professional trying to make her way up the chain. There’s no better feeling than knowing you helped another PR girl out, and mentorship can be an incredibly powerful way to participate in your industry’s growth.
WHAT’S MY CELEBRATION STYLE?
When the stakes are higher, it’s important to maintain your chill, no matter what. A great way to do this is to have built-in reward systems. A round of champagne gummy bears for the team after turning in that big client report, a weekend staycation at a local hotel or AirBnb once you wrap up a big event? Figure out what helps keep your motivation, and that of your team, up and productive.
ARE MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS UP TO DATE?
As you grow in your career, you should always just keep score of little goals and accomplishments you hit. Quantifying your talent will come in handy should you decide to change agencies, ask for a raise, or speak on a panel.
I’m so thankful for my days of running around New York City fetching coffee and writing press release after press release because those tasks ultimately helped me become a PR specialist. Every sample run, every PR training course lead me to my current path. See you at the top!
This is an original piece that I created for PR Couture.