On December 6, 2021 I started working at Jmac PR, my very first PR agency, as an Associate Account Executive. Now here we are, almost a year later, and I am currently an Account Executive for multiple client accounts. Before this job, I had interned at other places, but working full time is definitely not the same as being an intern. I have learned so much during my first year officially on the job and thought it was worth sharing. Here are six things I learned in my first year working as an Account Executive at a PR agency:
1. Company culture is everything
When it comes to applying for jobs, people’s top priorities are usually a high salary and good benefits. Company culture and values are usually secondary thoughts, but I don’t think this should be the case. It’s a lot easier to love your job and strive to do well when you get along with your coworkers and superiors. Working in an environment where one feels valued and supported, yet challenged, is essential for growth. When working for a company, make sure their vision statements and values align with yours.
2. Project management and organization will make your life easier
If there is one word to describe working at an agency, it would be “busy.” The more clients your agency has, the busier you will probably be. Learning how to juggle multiple clients at once is something that requires a little extra effort. In order to keep track of everything and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, you must be organized. Google sheets, Asana, Monday.com, and personal to-do lists are all great tools that I personally use specifically for project management.
3. A work-life balance is essential
I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining mental health. Doing so means figuring out a work-life balance that works for you. It’s important to be mentally present doing one’s job, but that can be difficult to do if we don’t take care of ourselves. Go on walks, listen to music, meditate, spend time with friends and family. Do what you need to do to feel good and the quality of your work will show. Be strategic and organized with your time and soon enough you will achieve a good balance. It took me a few months to figure it out myself.
4. Don’t be afraid to follow up
Working at a PR agency is extremely fast-paced. There are always emails to be sent out and emails to be read, which means that it’s very easy for messages to get lost in the clutter. Don’t be afraid to follow up with journalists and reporters to make sure they are getting your pitches! This is all part of the job, so don’t feel like you are being a bother. You’d be surprised at how many times reporters reply with gratitude for following up and pushing your email to the top of their inbox, especially if it’s something of high interest to them.
5. Be a good team player
“Teamwork makes the dream work.” When it comes to the busy world of PR, this saying could not hold more truth. With pitching, client meetings, managing socials, and writing thought leadership pieces all being part of the process, no one person can do it all. It’s all a team effort, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and return the favor by lending a hand to others on your team. Collaboration is key to success.
6. Networking is key
Any successful PR Account Executive knows that building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships is part of the job description. In this career, it’s all about who you know and who knows you. Attending workshops, seminars, conferences, and events are all great ways to meet professionals in the industry and get connected. No matter who you come into contact with, remember to be polite and respectful, regardless of the person’s title or rank. It’s a small world and as my manager always likes to remind us, “You never know where someone will end up.”