A version of this post previously appeared on PRSA: The Edge.
Graduates and current participants of Edelman Immersion Program share words of wisdom for new PR pros and those looking to succeed in this fast-paced and ever-changing environment. The Immersion Program is a highly competitive program where participants spend 18 months rotating across different Edelman departments to learn the business and determine long-term career goals. Take a look at what members from all three Immersion classes had to share from their unique experiences.
Herschel Kissinger, Class of 2015 – Currently in Program
A piece of advice that I often need to remind myself of: nobody is a mind reader. Colleagues and mentors are willing to help you achieve your goals—if they know what those goals actually are. Don’t be afraid to start those conversations yourself.
From working across five different practices at Edelman, I’ve learned that we have an expert or specialist for nearly everything. If you’re starting a new project in an unfamiliar space, the good first question to ask is “Have any of my colleagues done this before?” Often a 15-minute conversation with a subject matter expert gets you a lot more information than an hour of Googling.
Molly Shaheen, Class of 2015 – Currently in Program
Allow yourself to think of your role as you thought of college. In a communications agency, your clients and projects are your curriculum and each is an opportunity to gain knowledge on new things.
During your career, you’re going to have those core accounts that you always work on, much like the core classes for your degree. If you navigate things right, you’ll have room to take a couple electives down the line. Keep your eyes open and raise your hand for projects that pique your interest and are outside of your day-to-day role.
Don’t forget what your professors preached – participation! Speak up in meetings, bring interesting research or insights to the table and ask your teammates thoughtful questions along the way. It will help make you stand out.
Lissa Pavluk, Class of 2013
Don’t underestimate the value of a mentor. Find someone a few levels above you who is willing to help you navigate complex situations, give sage advice based on their own experiences and help you understand how to best grow your career. Your HR department should be able to help you facilitate this if you have trouble identifying someone on your own. The best part? You may end up with not only a mentor, but a good friend!
Jenna Wollemann, Class of 2011
One of the most important things I learned my first year working was the importance of managing up (or simply put, making the lives of your managers easier). Entry level employees are expected to be one step ahead, paying close attention to project timelines and various tasks for the team. When I joined Edelman, I quickly learned that you sometimes have to over-communicate with managers and team leaders so they know what the status of your projects are and when they can expect various deliverables. Over-communicating and managing up can be tough at first, but managers have no way of knowing what’s going on unless you tell them.
Additionally, be resourceful and don’t be afraid to ask questions! These traits go a long way. It’s always better to raise your hand to your manager before diving into a task if you’re unsure about something. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your peers. Other colleagues at your level can be fantastic resources if you have questions or ideas, considering it’s likely they have encountered similar experiences or issues.
Interested in applying for Edelman’s Immersion Program? More information can be found here.