A Day in the Life of a Public Relations/Marketing/Events/Designer/Stakeholder Manager
It’s a big title, but if your dream is to work in a leading creative agency, there are a number of roles you’ll be expected to fill every day (you should already add news guru, go-to industry expert, contact database, and note taking extraordinaire to this list).
Not all of what you need to succeed will come with your specialised degree. So, how do you develop these ‘extra’ job skills?
Here is a day* in the life of a junior executive creative (from someone who’s been there, done that), and the skills or life habits you can start curating NOW to set yourself up for success.
Get moving! You hear the world’s leading CEOs preach about ‘work/life balance’, and there’s a reason they’re so into it. If you aren’t already an early bird, get into this habit now to fit in a workout before work. Rather than jumping on emails first thing, exercising will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle the day in a positive way.
Getting ready for the day is so important. This is your chance to read or listen to as much news as you can, even if it’s just on in the background. ABC, SBS, SMH, The Australian, Junkee, Time Out – no matter what type of creative you are, your job is to know about the world and apply it to your work (you also never know what your senior colleagues will need to know ASAP).
Depending on your commute and how your morning is structured, this is also a great time to GLANCE at your emails. This will give you an idea of how your day is going to look (if Public Relations is your thing, this step is crucial when managing critical stakeholder issues that may have happened overnight).
Start work (hot industry tip: get to work 30 minutes early to settle in and re-read specific industry news that might be relevant to your clients, industry academic articles, new design trends, etc).
Organise your day! Understanding priorities is a skill we don’t explicitly learn but is assumed we have, and being able to do so without needing a senior colleague to lay it out for you will earn you huge brownie points. If you’re a procrastinator, you’ll need to set yourself personal goals and deadlines to ensure you actually get tasks completed in time.
No day is the same in agencies, so be flexible and get used to not completing some of your daily tasks (unless it’s a priority that is).
Emails. Improve your punctuation and grammar. Correct grammar is the most sought after and lacking graduate skill in Australia. Read about it, understand it, and explain it to someone who doesn’t understand it. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss is a great place to start.
Client meetings. As a junior, it’ll be your role to take the meeting minutes. This may sound dull and admin heavy, but these are actually very important. They’re not only an official record, but act as a to-do list and action report for the client (who’s doing what and when). The client will refer to this when they are billed to ensure your agency has completed all it has promised.
The best way to nail your meeting minutes is to download a client meeting minute template from the internet (each agency has their own format). Use this for all your lectures, tutorials, group meetings to get the hang of it. Straight after, take some time to make sure all the important details are there and save. Over time, your meeting minutes should achieve the following:
- Context around the ‘meeting’
- Updates on completed/upcoming items
- Is within MAX 3 pages (1.5 is ideal)
- No grammatical errors
- Only takes up to 30 minutes to complete
- Has successfully taken all the top-line notes you need for the semester
Lunch. You’ll probably miss this most days. Get in the habit of eating on the go and having lunch pre-prepared and snacks on hand.
Research and skim reading. A junior’s role includes client research; this could range from latest trends, compiling a list of relevant Insta influencers, or finding out what your clients competitors are up to (the news you reviewed earlier in the day will be helpful here).
This will be handed to your senior colleague who’ll either pitch these to your client or keep it on file for future opportunities.
Boost this skill by taking 1 hour after a lecture to do your own research on the topic and compiling a summary. Use this for your next assignment – if you need to do further research to complete the assignment, you missed something in your first scan.
What have you done today? A majority of agencies charge clients in 15 minute increments. So every 15 minutes count. Not being able to remember what you did that day will result in you needing to explain your productivity – so record keeping is a skill you should start now.
Reflect on each day: congratulate yourself on your achievements, but also acknowledge your failures. Then review your to-do list and place whatever you didn’t finish to the top of tomorrow’s list.
Now you’re done! If your manager or supervisor is still around, there’s no harm in having a quick chat to see how their day went and what THEIR tomorrow will look like. This is also a good way to gauge your productivity from their eyes and see where you can improve.
*The actual times listed here are just a guide, but the key principles are applied to all.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Sophie Olorenshaw
Sophie Olorenshaw is a Communications Consultant with UTS Careers. Sophie applies communication and public relations skills to deliver unique communications – empowering UTS students with the information, advice, and awareness of opportunities they need to succeed!