Things I'd tell my junior self - as a senior
It's a candidate's market, but entering the digital sector can still be intimidating.
Megan Packer, Senior PR Strategist at Leeds-headquartered Connective3, shares six of her tips for graduates and those entering the industry on what they should do - and what she'd have done differently.
Anyone working in the digital industry at the moment will know that it is booming, and the opportunities for graduates and juniors might just be the best they have ever been.
For me, that brings reflection, and a look back on how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved over the past four-and-a-half years, including what I might have done differently.
As a senior PR strategist and line manager to a team of seven, I feel it is important to (try to) be the senior figure I wanted as a junior; to offer guidance, experience and mentorship, as well as acting as someone they can go to, should they need advice.
So, to all the graduates and juniors out there ready to start their careers, I hope these tips will help you if you’re unsure, or doubt yourself and your abilities.
1. It's OK to make mistakes...
…it’s part of the learning process! Starting a new role fresh out of higher education means spending some time finding your feet in a new industry, and mistakes are just part of the deal.
One piece of advice I always offer someone who makes those inevitable errors is this - don’t dwell, but instead put your efforts into putting it right and, more importantly, spend the time needed to learn from it, as this is what is going to help you as you grow into their role.
2. Speak up about your concerns
This might just be one of the most important things I’d tell myself if I could go back to when I was first starting out - speak up about your concerns! If you don’t, it might not get picked up by your manager or wider team, and will take much longer to get resolved.
This is even more significant following COVID-19, as the world of work has shifted and businesses have become even more understanding of what’s happening in your life. So don’t be afraid to speak to your manager.
3. Absorb as much as you can
As we all know, digital develops and changes often, and if you don’t keep up, you might end up getting left behind. So take as many opportunities to learn new skills and topics as you can!
Utilise LinkedIn Learning, HubSpot and any other free webinars you can get your hands on. For those specifically in digital PR, Twitter should be your best friend as there are so many talented, link-minded digital PRs sharing their knowledge on the platform, and there’s so much you can pick up.
4. Take risks to get rewards
It might seem a little scary at first, but there are going to be many occasions where you need to take risks in order to reap the reward.
Think of it like this; if you don’t experiment with new PR angles, use A/B testing on your ads, or invest in influencers, finding those golden nuggets that help campaigns soar will be few and far between.
So: be bold, be daring, but also be brave in - and prepared for - the moments when it doesn’t quite work out. They will happen, but you’ll get through them.
5. Switch off outside office hours
If you’re guilty of continuing your work into the evening, trust me - you’re not alone. And though sometimes it might be necessary, it’s definitely not something that should be practiced often.
If you’re outside of working hours, turn off your notifications and avoid temptation when it comes to checking your emails or Teams.
It really helps to stop yourself from getting swallowed up in all the madness that comes with digital PR outside of your 9-to-5.
6. Believe in your abilities
I’ll round off the list with another important piece of advice, one I still tell myself now. Believe in your abilities and enjoy your successes - no matter how small they might feel at the time!
The digital industry is challenging at the best of times, and moments of imposter syndrome might sneak in. That’s why it’s super important to applaud yourself and your team for their wins.
Encouragement goes a very long way in helping your team to achieve their goals, so if you take one thing away from this, please don’t underestimate its importance.