By Marlesse Marino (@marlesse)
After reading Lyndsey‘s story about her transition from intern to full-time Account Coordinator on Internships.com, I decided to impart my STAGGERING five months of knowledge and wisdom to future ACs to help them face the unending challenges that go hand-in-hand with working at an agency.
I’ve been an Account Coordinator at SHIFT Communications for almost five months now, which in the typical public relations agency is the entry-level position for PR pros in the making. Like many other ACs out there, this happens to be my first job out of college.
In college, I just knew that my awesomeness would no doubt take me far once I started working, because I had what T.I and I like to call, “the swagger of a college kid.”
I’d like to say that my time working at SHIFT has been a breeze – that I’ve excelled at every task thrown my way with unparalleled success and style because I am so filled with swagger that I can’t help but be awesome — but that would be a lie. As days went by, I found myself relating less to any T.I. song and more to Robin Williams’ character in Jack—a child trapped in an adult’s (Albeit, considerably less-hairy) body.
That’s not to say that my time here hasn’t been a blast, because it has. Confusion and self-doubt aside, it has been incredible. I love SHIFT and when I think about how much I’ve learned about the industry and about agency life in general, I really am amazed.
I’ve outlined some of the most beneficial tips and tricks I’ve learned during my time here at SHIFT as a way to assist in ridding you of the wide-eyed confusion that I’ve learned is inherent with your first job out of college.
Talk to other ACs
- Your fellow ACs have probably gone through or are going through exactly the same situations you are. Talking to someone else to discuss their processes and struggles can not only help you on your path to developing the strategies that work best for you, but you can also make a few friends out of it. I recommend meeting with your fellow ACs once every two weeks or so, to catch up and share tips on how to best build a media list, or get in contact with that reporter who refuses to answer their phone.
- Before you send something over to your team to review, ask someone who is not on your team to look it over. I know that not noticing things like typos or missing commas was a big problem for me that could have been solved easily by just asking someone in the office to look over an email before I sent it over to the team. Having your work proofed will provide you with the assurance that whatever you are sharing with your team is in the best shape it can be. And if you listened to my first tip, you’ve already made friends with other ACs who will be more than willing to proof for you.
Develop a Process and Create Tip Sheets
- Once you start getting into the swing of things, you’ll notice that you might handle a certain project differently than other people do — this is your process. Create tip sheets that you can refer to whenever you are drafting up an email about a potential award your client should submit for, or when you are developing an agenda for a new client to make sure you’ve hit every step in your process. You can also easily share tip sheets with new ACs so they don’t have to start from scratch.
Add Value to Your Work
- When drafting up work to share with your team or a client, you should try to anticipate the questions that will be asked and answer them beforehand. This will show your team that you are thinking ahead and will save you a tremendous amount of time in the review process.
Research Industry News Trends
- Make it a goal to read a certain number of articles about your client’s industry to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the business. Who knows, it could also lead to a great idea for a pitch. Have you used industry news trends to score coverage for a client?
My few months as an AC have been filled with new, exciting and ultimately difficult experiences that I am positive will never stop coming, especially when considering that we PR champs are working in an industry that is constantly evolving. Am I completely confident that I will be able to immediately master anything thrown my way? Absolutely not. But I can say with all the swagger I can muster that I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Do you have any other tips for future ACs?