Think back to your first part-time job. Remember the hours, days, and weeks of training the organization gave you? Step-by-step guides on the proper ways to answer the phone, how to work the register, and exactly how to prepare everything on the menu? Well, communications is nothing like that. Training is a luxury most of us aren't afforded. I'm one month in to my new position, and while I adore it, I'm still training myself. So, if you're preparing for your first job, here are some tips for on-the-job PR training you can do yourself.
1) Keep Track of Edits
There's a good (great) chance somebody above you will be editing your work before you submit, publish, or print. Keep track of their edits. We've all memorized the AP Style Guide, but some organizations maintain different brand guidelines. Some drop the "S" before adding "'s", some hate centered text. You'll become accustomed to what your organization expects if you keep all of the edits you receive and implement them in your next project.
2) Enroll in Program Training
Most organizations use outside platforms for their day-to-day - beyond Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Things like Salesforce, iModules, NationBuilder and more are used everyday, and offer a lot of training for new employees. Introduce yourself to the account manager assigned to your organization, and have them direct you to training videos and how-to guides.
3) Look Back
Within your first few weeks, collect as many old publications as you can - digital or in print. Look for letters they mail, e-mails they send, articles they publish. Read through and highlight similar phrases, words, or themes. This will help give you a deeper understanding of your organization's key messages and brand guidelines.
4) Find Industry-specific Webinars
There is a great chance you don't have an hour-by-hour schedule in your new position. Instead, it's up to you to schedule your time wisely. Carve out an hour or two a week to enroll in industry-specific webinars. Take detailed notes and report new findings and insights at your next staff meeting.
5) Schedule Introductory Meetings
If your organization is large enough, there are probably people outside your office who will affect your job. Take the time to reach out and introduce yourself, and schedule 20 minutes to meet face-to-face. Understand what it is they do, how their work flows, and how you might be of assistance to them. This will give you ideas on the direction the organization is going, what has been tried before, its successes and its failures.
Maybe you haven't quite found your first job yet. No problem - here are some tips to staying sane during your job hunt.
What other tips do you have for navigating your first communications job?