If you’re gearing up for your first full-time PR job, you’re probably experiencing a fair amount of nerves, coupled with sporadic bouts of the what-ifs: What if I fail? What if I screw up? What if I can’t handle the workload?
To help calm your nerves, I’m giving you an inside peek what at my first day as an Assistant Account Executive at a PR agency was like. Enjoy (and major congrats on landing the position!).
10 am: Arrival
On my first day, I was asked to come in a bit later in the morning. First up, I was given an office tour and introduced to all my co-workers (it’s a small office).
I read a tip online that to help remember people’s names you should say the person’s name out loud after they’ve been introduced. I thought this would be great to practice on my first day. Alas, I forgot to do it #fail. I did, however, offer a firm handshake with a (hopefully) cheerful look. I made a point to speak to everyone I interviewed with to tell them how excited I was to be there.
10:15 am: Time to dig in.
I settled into my workspace, noticed a pit stain and ran (jk walked) to the bathroom.
10:30 am: Attended my first internal client meeting
I grabbed my notebook and pen and blindly headed into my first meeting, where we discussed a current client crisis (that’s first day #goals for sure). I remained attentive but I didn’t put pressure on myself to speak or ask questions.
11 am: Paperwork
I filled out HR paperwork, which included the dreaded W-2 forms. Regardless of how many times I fill out that form, it will always confuse me.
11:30 am: I set up my laptop and email
Seeing that agency email address (and a ton of emails already in my inbox) makes it all feel real.
12 pm: Overview of expectations
My manager explained that I would be responsible for daily monitoring clients in the news, updating status reports for client meetings, writing pitches, pitching the media and sending media mailers. These tasks mirrored some of the responsibilities from my internship experiences, so it made me confident I would be successful in my new role.
This was a great opportunity for me to ask plenty of questions, so I could understand my role and my accounts. I’m on eight accounts, so there was plenty to write down. I TOOK A LOT OF NOTES.
1 pm: Welcome lunch
Cancelled. Important people were out sick, so I dedicated three minutes to dreaming of tacos and took a bite of a bagel. Then, I turned back to the 250 emails in my inbox.
2:30 pm: Email time
I caught up on emails…sort of (200 now) and researched my client accounts.
3:45 pm: Account onboarding
I received information on each of my accounts and more detailed responsibilities for each.
4:30 pm: Client Call
The call was canceled. I got the news…ten minutes into sitting in the meeting room…alone.
5:30 pm: Last email check of the day
I attempted to catch up on emails again (down to 190) and read through important client documents sent over by my team to better understand what we were doing for each of them and to get up to speed on their brand.
6 pm: Prepared to go home
I stayed an extra 10 minutes. I didn’t want to seem in a rush to get out. I brought home my notes to review — I needed extra time to digest all that information. When it was time to leave, I wished everyone a good night and caught the elevator with a co-worker.
And my first day was over. Zzzzzzz.
The next day, my workload picked up, big time. I didn’t expect to be so busy so fast. My team wasted no time transitioning me into account work.
My advice: use your first day to get organized, which includes reading documents on the server. When you understand your accounts and the status of each, things will run more smoothly. Also, be sure to learn how to use your email service (most likely Outlook) if you’re unfamiliar with it. Start getting organized as well. I made folders for each client in my email and computer.
You may be overwhelmed in the beginning, especially if agency life is new to you. Be confident, though, and ask for help whenever your need it (seriously).
So pack your lunch, prep your outfit and kill it.
Kim Stephens is a PR professional working in NYC. She recently began her first full-time job at a boutique PR agency, and her clients range from the beauty and healthcare sector. To fuel her creative side, she manages a personal blog, Kimmycocoa, where she helps millennial women with that whole adulting thing.