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.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!


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!

Five lessons I learned from my first job in PR

By Staci

I was extremely fortunate to land my first job in the field of public relations. What started out as an unpaid internship in a small department that never previously hosted an intern turned into a full time job with benefits. Go me! It’s not always that easy. The PR gods were clearly looking out for me.

It turns out that my first job was exactly what I needed. I had an amazing boss who was very interested in making me the best communicator that I could be. She got many things right when dealing with me, but I’ll save the specifics for a different blog post at a later date.

I spent four great years at my first job. Your first job in the field is probably one of the most important jobs you will have in your life. After reflecting on what I learned in that four years’ time, I realized that I learned a lot! The following five things seem to stick with me wherever I go:

(These lessons are in no particular order.)

Lesson 1: Make nice with the food people

Food people make the world go round. Or, I should say that food people make my world go round! Get in good with the executive chef, the general manager and the cashiers and your workdays will be much happier. If you don’t have food services at your place of work, make nice with the workers at your local dining establishments. A little bit of chatter, a whole lot of friendliness and a good tip can go a long way when it comes to scoring free food.

Lesson 2: There are two types of senior professionals – know the type you are dealing with

Young professionals will encounter two types of people when they are just starting out. The first group consists of veterans who are inclusive. They actively seek your input in meetings, they take care to provide you with necessary background information so that you can approach your job more effectively and they are encouraging and supportive. They understand that when you do better, they will do better and when everyone is doing better, the organization does better. Win, win, and win!

The second group consists of veterans who are dismissive. They don’t care for your input or to include you in the decision making process. Your development is not their concern and can sometimes even be seen as threatening. These people like to throw their years of experience around as a way to demean your own experience. Unfortunately, there is little you can do in this situation. Keep your head up, demonstrate your competence and get the job done.

The bottom line is that you should soak up every bit of knowledge you can from the first type of senior professional. Be sure to take notes on how you should not act when you find yourself on the other end of the situation later in your career so that you don’t end up like the second type of senior professional.

Lesson 3: Never write off a media outlet

The first organization I worked for was quite difficult when it came to media relations. It wasn’t that we didn’t have good stories to pitch. We were actually quite active and able to place several stories a month. It was just that the media consistently got the story of the organization wrong due in large part to the history of the industry in the region the organization was operating in. As frustrating as this could be at times, my first boss taught me to never write off a media outlet, no matter its carelessness or vendetta. It was our job as PR professionals to tear down those walls and build those relationships. It took some time, but with a lot of persistence and a little help from staff turnover in newsrooms, our team was able to get journalists to more accurately portray the organization in news coverage. Don’t back down…double down.

Lesson  4: Never accept the status quo

This is perhaps my favorite lesson I learned from my first job in PR. As a PR professional, you are the eyes and ears of the organization, you are the cheerleader and, most importantly, you are the change agent. Think about it – you are imbedded in the organization like a wartime reporter. This allows you to see where the organization is going and better advise senior leaders how to navigate the waters of change to get the organization there. You know the staff, you know the conditions and you know the external publics. This is the environmental scanning function of PR.

Do not become complacent and do not allow your senior leaders to become complacent. EVERYTHING can ALWAYS be better. Good is simply not good enough. Achieve excellence and once you get there, go further. If your organization is not constantly working to improve, it is falling behind.

Lesson 5: Relationships are everything

Relationships truly are everything in this business. Whether it is a pushy and persistent sales person, an incompetent colleague or a less than reliable vendor, the universe has a way of putting these people in your path time after time. Suck it up, Buttercup. Chances are you will run into these very same people after your first job, or you will meet someone who knows them and thinks of them fondly. Heck, you might even need them!

Your reputation will follow you. Make sure it is a good one.

So, there you have it. I learned a lot about myself while in my first job and a lot about the industry. We unfortunately don’t get any do-overs when it comes to our first jobs. First timers should take note and make the most of their experience in these very formidable first years. Your first job can often set the tone for the rest of your career.

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

Awesome and Useful Keyword Search Tools

Paid and Free Tools for Your Convenience

By Isabel

Keywords are an integral part of digital marketing. Over 98% of all web searches begin on a search engine where the user, types in keywords and phrases that are specific to their interests and topics. These searches can be broken down into three different categories:

  1. Issue related words and phrases (hair cleaner, shampoo)
  2. Product specific words and phrases (dandruff shampoo, baby shampoo
  3. Brand related words (specifically naming the brand such as Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo)

Gaining an understanding of keywords and phrases used by people, can assist companies in determining how to best influence the consumer to view their digital scope. I have compiled a list of both paid and free keyword search tool platforms to assist you in your quest for the best keywords. Use these tools along with the categories above to create a keyword analysis excel spreadsheet for faster and more efficient searches.

MOZ Keyword Difficulty Tool 

The MOZ keyword difficulty tool retrieves the top 10 web rankings for any keyword allowing users to optimize for the best keyword choices, and also weed out difficult to rank for words. The tool also provides analytical information on competitor’s keyword searched in order for the user to make decisions on how to better rank for these words. You will need a MOZ subscription to access this tool. MOZ offers a free 30-day trial.

Keyword Spy

While Keyword Spy focuses primarily on paid search, you can also use it for organic word searches. Keyword Spy constantly updates their research based on top paid search and organic sites, top ad spenders and top per click keywords. It also has a segment listing most words clicked per day. Keyword Spy offers both free (but limited) and subscription based tools.

One of the best free tools offered by Keyword Spy is the domain spy tool.

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This tool allows you to enter any domain and shares results on what searches that site is conducting, how much money they spend on keyword search as well as similar searches and their cost per click.


Wordtracker allows users to search for top keywords from up to 700 million word searched within the last 365 days. This tool will also search for phrases containing keywords and synonyms of those keywords. Wordtracker helps to organize all of this information in easy to read reports and includes research on competitor searches. Subcriptions start out at $69 dollars/month.


Wordstream offers four different keyword tools, and all are free. The free keyword tool allows users to get keyword suggestions from over a trillion keyword searches. The niche keyword tool, allows users to find the best and most cost-effective keyword opportunities. The negative word search tool helps eliminate unnecessary words from your searches saving both time and money. My favorite, is the keyword grouper tool.

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This tool allows users to type in 1,000 words from which to create the most profitable keyword groupings. This tool is completely free. Use it up to 10 times whenever and then once a day anytime after.

These are just a few of the keyword search tools available to you. I am just beginning to explore Google’s Keyword Planner. Please comment if you have had success with Keyword Planner, any of these search tools or other tools not mentioned on this list.