Three things I learned while in school that I encountered within my first week on the job

By Casey, guest contributor

Casey, author of Three things I learned while in school that I encountered in my first week on the job

I recently graduated with a bachelors degree in public relations. I am a lifelong learner and expect to head back to school as soon as I can. After graduation I took an internship as social media specialist with the United States Army at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA where I got to experience the government PR environment.

I currently work with outdoor digital signage. My position has me doing anything from working with our advertising clients to creating advertisements that reflect their brand, developing interactive social media campaigns for our advertisers, to boosting the social media presence for our business.

In the midst of the transition from student to professional, I am planning a wedding set for June of 2014 with my fiance Eric. In my freetime I like to take far too many photos of my dog Zoey, and watch entire series of T.V. shows on Netflix in a weekend.

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I am brand new to the professional world. By new, I mean I have been working at my job for approximately one week. I graduated with my bachelors degree in public relations in May and then went on to a summer internship. So, I am just starting my professional career. When I started my position as a digital content coordinator on Monday at a local audio visual company, I was nervous. By the end of my first day, I was overwhelmed and completely exhausted.

As I write this at the end of the week, I am thrilled with the position I have chosen. Throughout the week I have noticed several things that my professors either taught me or warned me would happen in the professional world. I was surprised every time I was asked to do something by my boss that my professors had said would happen when I went out into the “real world.” I guess I just didn’t expect these things to happen to me. I was wrong.

So I am going to share my experience from the perspective of a recent graduate and first time professional:

(These lessons are in no particular order.)

#1 — Public Relations comes in all shapes and sizes

When I was in school, I was told to excessively research all the different types of PR fields. Many times college students think that PR is just one job or can be defined in one quick description. In my classes, I was surrounded by people who wanted to be event planners and only event planners. Events are great for people who want to eat, sleep, and breathe event planning. But, there are jobs out there that involve event planning on a smaller scale, as opposed to planning and executing events everyday.

In my job search I noticed that many communications job openings have event planning, social media, and media relations embedded in them. In just the first week of my job, I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in social media, internal communications, and media relations. So perhaps one of the most important things I learned and implemented after graduation was how I went about searching for my first job. If I didn’t listen to my professors, I would still be searching for the “perfect” PR career.

#2 — Strong writing is the key to success

I am lucky enough to work at a growing business that is excited to take the steps to create a strong social media presence. But if I suggest something, I better have a well written proposal in hand. We are far past the days of just saying “Hey, I think this a good idea” and then making it happen. Just suggesting that my company should create a stronger LinkedIn presence led to me creating a 7 page proposal on the who, what, where, when, and why. If I didn’t have a professor in college who was almost irritatingly obsessed with a red pen, I would have never been able to complete the 3 proposals I have written this week.

#3 — They aren’t going to take it easy on you in the real world

Wow. This is so true. Within the first couple of days at my new job, I had a client set a meeting with me for the same day. I wasn’t prepared, but I had to force myself to be. I ate lunch at my desk and did my research. In college, I spent my time glamorizing what it would be like to have my first professional job, but it turns out its all not sunshine and roses. No one ever asks you if you CAN do something, they just expect that you know how to do it. Now, I obviously suggest you ask questions if you need help, but your boss won’t typically walk around the building asking if they can help anyone or answer questions. This was perhaps the hardest lesson that I have learned, and my professors warned me about it in advance.

Even the most successful college student can have a hard time adjusting to the expectations of a new career.

What lessons did you learn from your first job in the field? Let us know in the comment section below!

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One thought on “Three things I learned while in school that I encountered within my first week on the job

  1. Casey took full advantage of college classes to learn as much as she could about both the theory and practice of Public relations. It’s great to hear that attitude is helping with this important transition to the professional world. Look out world–here she comes!

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