Most of us start our careers off before we actually build the tools to be successful in our jobs. My experience is a good example of starting out green, and, at times, unprepared for day-to-day duties in the PR and Marketing world. However, it is also one of learning quickly and working smart to taste success and satisfaction early. The following tips and examples won’t necessarily guarantee raises or promotions, but should help any early-stage career PR professional lay a foundation to achieve highly, while still having a smile on their face as they rise through the ranks.
1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Not long ago, one of my supervisors gave me some invaluable career advice. She said, “Focus on making your boss look as good as humanly possible”. Even if we still need to learn the basics of our job functions when we start a new position, volunteering to jump in not only helps our bosses and teams, but also helps us grow faster in our careers.
During my earliest days at W2O as an intern, I learned how to take efficient, direct, and well-formatted notes. My first notes, however, were completely inefficient, indirect, and ill-formatted. It took multiple one-on-one meetings with my manager to work out the kinks of how to take notes. Since fine-tuning my approach, I now feel confident taking notes during every meeting I attend, so others, like my boss, won’t have to. This helps her and our whole team stay organized and aware of next steps on projects we are delivering.
2. Get Involved with Company Culture
A great way to gain exposure with your boss and senior leaders in any company is to immerse yourself in the office culture. In 2016, I planned a Pi Day pie baking contest for my office. Not only was that event delicious, it also brought people from different departments together. Everyone from executives to associates enjoyed the event, and gave me props for planning it. Furthermore, putting on a successful event allowed me to teach one of my peers how to plan the 2017 iteration. She did a tremendous job with it, and it felt good to help her get the same exposure I was going for the previous year.
3. Keep Track of Your Accomplishments
When I’m not planning bake-offs, I am leading projects for different global and technology brands. Let’s be clear: the PR and Marketing agency world is a client services industry. It’s important to be involved in office events, but it’s even more important to make sure the clients you represent are happy with what you produce on their behalf. After all, that’s what keeps the lights on in our offices!
It’s especially useful for someone just starting off their career, to keep track of positive feedback you receive from your clients. That’s why I have a folder in my email entitled “Positive Client Feedback”. It’s as simple as that. Moving glowing emails from my inbox to that folder is a small, but extremely motivating, pleasure. It inspires me to continue to learn and, in turn, set myself to earn raises and promotions.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want
I don’t just let that positive client feedback folder collect dust. I use it as leverage when discussing my career with my manager. It’s easy to make a case for raises and promotions when you put your best foot forward, get involved in company culture, and document your accomplishments. Whenever my boss wants to know how things are going, I can show her a list of how I’ve grown and what I’ve achieved recently, backed up by my positive client feedback folder. It’s true, it can be daunting proposing a raise or a promotion. That said, I’ve found it always gets easier each time I do it, provided I have the evidence to prove that I am ready for the next step in my career.
In two and a half years at this company, these steps and strategies have helped me grow, and, more importantly, have allowed me to enjoy my W2O journey tremendously.