Curiosity is crucial for the PR cat – and other lessons from my first year at Hot Tin Roof

I joined Hot Tin Roof just over a year ago, and what a year it has been. I joined the agency as a relative newbie to PR, armed with a cheery attitude, an ambition to learn, and a distinct lack of Mac computer operating skills that had to be addressed immediately!

The last 12 months have flown by, and I am more sure than ever that this is the right career for me. Here are some of my thoughts on how to make the most out of your first year at an agency:

Be a sponge

You will be surrounded by people with an incredible amount of knowledge about PR. Take this opportunity to soak up everything you can learn from them. Ask questions, watch what they do and how they manage their accounts. Study their writing and investigative methods. Even look at how they communicate with different clients by email, and listen when they speak to journalists on the phone. Their experience is invaluable and you will only benefit by paying close attention.

Get the kettle on

I’m not suggesting it is the sole job of the most junior member of staff to provide everyone with hot beverages, but sometimes this will be the most helpful thing you can do. It’s a great way to get to know your colleagues a bit better, and prove to your new employer you are keen to help out however you can. When clients come in for meetings, offering a tea or a coffee is a great excuse to approach and introduce yourself, helping to build the vital relationship you need to work with them.

Keep your heid

There is no getting away from the fact that in PR we often have to work to tight deadlines, juggle several clients at once, and contend with the perennial PR problem; busy journos with too much to do and too little time. If your stress levels are starting to become overwhelming, it’s important to take a step back, re-evaluate the situation, and come up with a plan of action. Your colleagues will certainly think better of you if you ask for help, rather than quietly letting a situation spiral out of control, so calmly explain what is happening, and find a solution together. Deep breaths!

Share your knowledge

Agency work is often extremely varied, and each new client presents an opportunity to develop a new area of expertise – as quickly as possible! Don’t be afraid to share anything you learn, the smallest detail can make a big difference. It’s also likely you will have more direct contact with the press as you will be selling in stories, so make sure you update the team with any changes in staff, or new opportunities you find out about. Teamwork is vital when working in an agency, so make sure you are a valuable player!

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