After graduating college and starting my first full-time salaried position last May, I was excited to learn the ins and outs of health care public relations. My managers and peers have truly taken me under their wing, and everyone has been an amazing mentor and resource. On top of that, we frequently hold office-wide professional development sessions to continue building our PR skillsets.
After a year and a promotion to Account Executive, I am still always learning new strategies and tactics, now focusing on account-management skills. Our managers are preparing the account team to better understand how to practice client relations and balance multiple timelines. Learning foundational public relations knowledge is key, and practicing management techniques is just as crucial to our personal development.
Here are five tips for growing into your new role at work:
Don’t be afraid to ask all your questions. You’ve probably received this advice before, but it’s worth repeating: this is the best way for you to determine exactly what your manager wants. So, it takes away any guesswork on your end. Instead of spending your time trying to decode their request, it’s much quicker and easier to ask for clarification.
This is not necessarily where your questions should end, though. If time allows, try asking about how this work fits into the larger plan for this client or project. Even if your tasks are smaller scale for now, you can create something that is more tailored and relevant to the bigger picture if you have more context.
Follow up on your work. If you haven’t received any feedback on a completed assignment, consider following up on it. Your manager may not have had time to send you feedback in the moment, but your follow up gives them the opportunity to let you know what you might need to improve next time.
Following up not only shows your interest in growing your skill set, but it also demonstrates that you’re on top of your work. It can also position you as the point person for this topic if and when this type of work continues.
Track your to-dos and update your team. Keep track of your to-dos in an organized manner so you aren’t relying on reminders from your team to know what assignments are coming due. At TRG, we use Breeze, an online task-management system that we can organize by client. I also find that keeping a daily to-do list helps me prioritize and use my time efficiently every day.
If a deadline is coming up and your task is taking longer than expected, send a quick message to your account manager or team members who are relying on that work. Whether it’s a hard or soft deadline, this keeps your team from wondering and allows them to plan accordingly.
Take on new tasks, but be up front about other deadlines. When you are given a new task that wasn’t in your original plan, try to fit it into your schedule. It’s important to be a team player, and this new project could be a great learning opportunity or could bring a new perspective to a project. But if it really doesn’t work with your other assignments, don’t be afraid to speak up. Ask how flexible the deadline is, or how long they expect it may take. Producing one on-time and top-notch assignment is better than two rushed projects.
Share new ideas without worrying if they are good enough. As a new team member, it can feel daunting to present new ideas to your team. But if you have one, let your account lead know. They want you to engage in your work and make it your own – that’s why you are a part of the team.
Try to have some additional logistical information on your new idea if possible, but sometimes just joining the brainstorm can spark the inspirations for an innovative new project.
Growing into a new role at work can be challenging, especially if you’re accustomed to turning in your assignments and moving on to the next task. Developing your account-management and client-relations skills early on in your career will set you and your team up for success.