You've just graduated from college or perhaps are undergoing a career transition and are ready to launch in the big scary world of PR. Where should you start looking for a job?
Well if you've done your homework and built a personal brand on social media, made connections and networked with PR pros, it might be easier than you think to land your dream job.
And no, I am not talking about going after a position in a big agency. I am thinking of something different: small successful PR agencies, those agencies started by PR pros with the mission to do things differently, some of them are entirely virtual.
Of course you could do that, but the reason I am recommending a small PR agency is because you have an amazing opportunity to learn…a lot!
While in a big agency of Corporate America, you have to take one step at a time and climb the ladder slowly to get to work with the “big guys”, in a small agency or a small in-house PR department, you get to do everything.
The roles are not so specialized, so you will have access to all the projects and clients the company has. Maybe you won´t be able to work directly with the clients, but for sure you'll be able to help your colleagues.
You see, in a small agency, the whole team works together on every project and sometimes several projects at a time. You have to learn on the go, you have to adjust and you have to stretch. It's not easy, it may be scary, but is so rewarding.
You learn event management, media relations, social media strategy and management, communications strategy, crisis communications and so much more.
The biggest advantage of all is you are close to the leader and get to see first-hand how things are done. He might take you with him in client meetings if you play well your cards and show interest, understanding of business and willingness to put in the work.
What a small PR agency or in-house PR department gives you is much more than a title on your business card, is first-hand experience on how to lead the relationship with a client, how to deal with several projects and tasks at a time, how to fit in a team and how to help.
1. Learning. I am not saying you don't have the opportunity to learn in a big agency. But in a small agency you learn to do everything and at fast pace. You learn to build relationships with media and to pitch journalists, you learn to write briefs for clients, you learn to organize and coordinate events, to create a communications strategy, social media strategy and so much more.
2. Teamwork. You get to work in a small team where everybody learns from one another and more importantly, where you help each other. This is an advantage often overlooked in the corporate world, where everybody is focused on their own job and collaborates only when they have to. Learning to be part of a team is a valuable skill you will use in your futures endeavors.
3. Diverse work. Having the chance to work with clients from different industries sets you apart and helps you develop a range of skills that will boost your career. Having the ability to understand the specifics of each industry, to understand your client's work is a rare skill often found at the very best in the PR industry.
4. Learn from the big boss. The advantage of a small agency/in-house department is that you get to be close to your leader much more often than if you worked in a big agency. What this means for you is… yes, more learning! You learn how the agency is run, how to bring in new business, how to run a team, how to deal with crisis and problems and how to recruit new team members. This experience is more valuable than any paycheck from a big agency.
5. Having fun. Yes, you have fun! Imagine that! Being part of a small team creates a second family for you. You learn together, you grow up together and have fun working together.
So, there you have it: my take on why is beneficial for you to start your career in a small PR agency rather than a big one.
Agree with me or not, share your thoughts in the comments!
Corina Manea is an independent PR professional and social media strategist, currently living in Madrid, Spain. Founder of NutsPR and with more than a decade in PR and customer service, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals connect with their audiences on social media, while building an irresistible brand. Connect with her on Twitter.
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