Starting Your First Week on the Job Right

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stephaniecBy Stephanie Ciccarelli Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Voices.com

Looking for a job, nay, a career in communications or public relations? To land well as a PR pro, it helps to ask the right questions, be observant and take some initiative.

When starting out at a new workplace, you’ll find there are many things to discover —that said, every company —whether big or small —has a brand, an institutional memory and a culture all its own. Once you’re in, the expectation will be that you learn these things. Want to make your first week on the job much easier and accelerate your learning curve? Read on!

Curiosity

Were you one of those children who grew up asking “Why?” multiple times a day? Are you fascinated by how things work? I hope you’re still asking questions! Being curious about your surroundings, whom is connected to whom, and the ecosystem your employer’s business belongs to will give you a better appreciation for the lay of the land, both in the office and the outside world. Find out who your best resources are internally and who you should be tapping for information. Ask questions about how the brand wishes to be perceived. Study the way your company communicates with customers on the company’s website as well as its social media channels. Reviewing past media releases and awards received will give you an indication of what your new company values and how they want others to perceive their brand.

Creativity

Steve Jobs famously said that creativity was merely connecting things. Being able to connect things is something that every public relations professional should aspire to do because you’ll be able to pitch angles others haven’t thought of and will generally see things in a different light. You have fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. Use them to your advantage! By viewing the world through the lens of possibility, you’ll be able to figure out how what you’re encountering relates to your company — whether positively or negatively — and its brand. Doing so will help to govern the kind of conversations the brand engages in whether it be in terms of content creation, social media, publicity or strategic alliances. Knowing how your brand fits in and the kind of stories you tell will prove invaluable to you and maximize your effectiveness in public relations.

Construction

Now that you’ve made some observations, it is time to tie them together. Developing a Public Relations Handbook for your company is a great way to list your responsibilities, document what you do and define how things are done. Creating a handbook of this kind in Google Drive makes it easy for others in your department to collaborate with you online to share knowledge about systems, processes, the company’s voice and so on. We have handbooks for every department in our own company and rely upon them for training purposes as well as for reference. Such an internal resource would wow any company, especially those with smaller teams dedicated to communications and marketing in general. Another benefit? You don’t have to go back to the drawing board every time something comes up or a colleague wants to know what to do about X, Y or Z situation. In your Public Relations Handbook, you’ve got everything nicely packaged in a living document that you can continue to build upon as time goes by.

Feeling better about starting your new position? By taking these tips into account, your first week on the job will not only go more smoothly for you, but you’ll also learn and accomplish more! Ask questions, take notice of what’s going on around you (and your industry) and put those ideas together. That’s a good way to kick things off, wouldn’t you say? Doing so will make you an asset to your new organization and add value immediately.

About the Author: Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com, the industry-leading website that connects businesses with professional voice talent. Voices.com has been written about in The New York Times, CNBC, CNNMoney, BusinessWeek, Forbes Magazine, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Verge and The Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators Blog.