Joining the workforce is a big change from being in college, and working in marketing and public relations carries with it vastly different experiences, expectations and challenges than the ones I was used to in school. Having been with Berbay now for nearly three months, I’ve learned a lot of skills that academia never prepared me for, and I’d like to share a few lessons Berbay has taught me that college never did.
Everything counts. In college, I once procrastinated on a ten-page paper to the extent where I was forced to write the entire thing over the course of twelve nightmarish, Red Bull-fueled hours. I shouldn’t have put it off so long, but I knew that it didn’t really matter what grade I got—the paper counted for a small percentage of my grade, and I could make it up in the final.
In public relations, there’s no final exam. Every single piece of writing matters, and producing rushed, carelessly-written work isn’t an option. It’s important to take the care that each project deserves, and to ensure that everything I write is the best that it can be, whether it’s a 140-character Twitter post or a two-page press release.
Teamwork isn’t just for sports. As a college student, I was an English major who routinely wrote aggressively boring papers with titles like “Social Criticism and Courageous Women: The Subversion of Novelistic and Societal Conventions in Jane Eyre,” and I was lucky if I could persuade someone to even skim an essay without their eyes glazing over.
But at Berbay, I have a group of people willing and able to offer input and edits to every single piece of writing I create, and who can check and double-check to make sure no errors slip through the cracks. There’s no sense of the kind of competition I always felt in college; everyone at Berbay wants everyone else to not just succeed, but excel.
Phone calls aren’t scary. Really. The primary method of communication with professors in college was email, and the primary methods of communication with friends were text and Facebook messages. I honestly think the only times I made phone calls in college were to a) talk to my parents and b) order pizza. By the time I graduated, I had all but trained myself out of wanting to communicate by phone at all.
By far the most surprising thing I’ve learned at Berbay is that phone calls are actually much less intimidating than I had conditioned myself to believe. Often, phone calls can be the best and most efficient way to reach a client, find the answer to a technical question, or get in touch with an otherwise unresponsive media contact. It’s easy to get stuck in an email rut, but it turns out that voice communication can be pretty effective. Making phone calls also became much less scary once I realized that 99% of the time, the person on the other end is a regular human, just like me. (We don’t talk about the other 1%.)
The leap from college student to Assistant Account Manager has been a big one, and it came with a steep learning curve. I still have a lot left to learn, but with the support of Berbay’s team behind me, I know I’ll get there.