Monday 9th August 2010 – the day I started my life as a working professional.
Long gone were those glorious student past-times of watching hours of Sky Sports News, playing FIFA until the early hours, and writing the odd essay about some literary masterpiece.
Five years later and my life in PR has taken me from London England to Sydney Australia. It’s seen me represent some of the biggest technology companies in the world. And I’ve spent hours (probably days) of my life watching Sky Sports News (or Fox Sports now)…some habits are harder to break.
It’s been quite the journey. Literally.
I’ve learnt more than I ever would have imagined, and sometimes realise, but picking my five biggest lessons:
- Keep perspective – You need to enjoy what you do, like the people you work with, and most importantly make time for the things you value. It’s all too easy to lose perspective working in PR; I’m sure it’s the same in any job. Taking time out keeps you focused and energised. More often than not it’s also when you have your best ideas.
- Tell a good story – In the battle for bought, earned and owned media, as well as in the age of story-sharing, our stories are more valuable than ever before. Never forget who your audience is, and make sure your story matters to them. Get it right and you can PR almost anything.
One of my favourite examples of this is from a nasal strip brand, which linked its product to the sleeping habits of sports starts. Proof there’s a story for everything if you look for it.
- Take Risks – Challenge yourself every day, look for the opportunity in everything, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Having a positive attitude is the best way to learn and grow. It won’t go unnoticed by those around you either.
It’s obvious, but moving to Australia was both a risk and an opportunity – even my first interview for the job in Sydney took me far outside my comfort zone as it was held right next to Chelsea FC’s stadium in London…not an easy place to go when you’re an Arsenal fan. Did it pay off? Definitely.
- Get old(er) – While you might think you’re young, after a few years there’s somebody in the office younger than you and they look to you for advice. It’s a complete shift in mindset, but the reality is you’ve asked someone the same questions so are well set for the answer. In fact, I’ve had many conversations with my peers where we’ve said: “Do you ever feel as though we’re giving the exact same advice our managers used to give to us?”
- You’re your own boss – Managers can guide and support you, but at the end of the day the only person who is going to get you to where you want to be is you. The sooner we realise this, the sooner we become who we want to be.
Whether it’s your first or last day in PR, I think these lessons ring true. Like the five gone before, I can’t be 100 per cent sure what’s ahead. I do know that as long as I keep these in mind, then I’m going to get to where I want to be, and I’m going to have fun doing it.
Written by Ross Lambert – Senior Account Manager, Howorth