The second PRSA Phoenix New Pros event of the year was held earlier this week. Both Bre and I attended. This time it was all about landing your dream job, and we had three excellent panelists with very diverse backgrounds: Robyn Moore, of Mack Media Relations; Kimberly Gale, of Healthways; and Erica Sturwold, of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
As new pros, often your first job (or maybe even your first several) aren’t your dream job because at this point in your career, you’re ready to say yes to anything. That was one of the tips the panelists gave last night—as a new pro (especially those right out of college), take every opportunity you’re given because you’re going to learn from it. At the same time though, know when to ask questions—why is your agency doing these tasks and why specifically are you? If you have a smart question, don’t be afraid to ask it.
Some of the other great takeaways:
Know your work and time is valuable—Erica worked as an assistant account executive in Chicago for nearly two years. She worked all day at the office until about 9 p.m., did more work until she couldn’t keep her eyes open and then worked on the train back to the office in the morning. She wasn’t being arrogant when she said she deserved a promotion—her supervisors agreed but it wasn’t her time in line; she was behind five other people who had been there longer and also deserved a promotion. So she left.
You are in charge of your own career path—if you want to move to a different department within your agency—maybe you’re in PR and want to move to digital—talk to your HR department and/or your supervisor and explain why. Do some research on the new department or position you’re interested in, so if you’re asked if you know what that job entails, you can say yes with confidence. On the other hand, if you’re ready to move on from your current company, take the steps to do so. While you may feel like you owe your company something, you need to remember that it comes down to business. You were hired originally because you were a smart business decision. When you aren’t happy or realize it’s time to move on from your organization, do it.
Don’t become complacent and know when you’re unhappy—if you find yourself hitting a wall in your position, do something about it. Either look for new growth opportunities within your organization or look for a new organization. Your supervisor will probably realize when you’ve hit a wall as well and it’s not helpful to either you or your employer when you’re at a standstill.
Keep a pulse on the job market—something Kim mentioned was that while she is totally happy with her current position and doesn’t have a plan to leave it, she still gets a daily email with new positions that are open because she thinks it’s important to know what’s out there and what titles are popping up. And you’ll never know when you might find yourself out of a job.
What is your dream job? Are you there yet? And what other advice can you offer to us new pros?