From A Former AAE to Another

Having come from a large agency background, I’ve grown accustomed to working on sizable account teams. This also means that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great, young talent throughout the years. I’ll never forget when I first started out in agency life. Fresh out of college, I landed my first gig in healthcare public relations and haven’t looked back since. Throw in some traditional media relations, thought leadership and a bit of crisis communications, and I was well on my way to using the skills I had learned in college…right?

Well, maybe not.

I learned soon enough that teachers and text books can only get you so far. In my opinion, on-the-job experience and advice from mentors, supervisors and peers is really what helps set the stage for future success. So what exactly have I learned, you might ask? Here, I’ll share some words of wisdom that have been passed down:

Be proactive – it’s always great to volunteer to take on an assignment, especially if it’s something you’re particularly passionate about. Maybe, it’s even a challenge project. It’s also great to let your team lead or manager know the status of a project before they ask – why not send a quick update that you’re “on top of things” or that you’ve gotten great research results so far. After all, demonstrating initiative definitely pays off in the long run.

Be bold – picture this: you’re new and you’re in a brainstorm where you don’t know anyone…but you think you’ve got a great idea. Go ahead, speak up! No idea is “stupid” and you’re sure to gain recognition if you share your thoughts. Creativity is king.

Be a team player – we’re all in this together. Our goal is not to identify the best or smartest individual at the company and put them on a pedestal. Strive toward being a part of a well oiled machine where different perspectives combine to provide excellent client service coupled with measurable results. After all, as you’ve likely heard, and as agency founder John Bliss recently blogged, “There’s no I in team.” Disclosure: I work at BlissPR.  [Editor’s note: So do I ~ NB]

Be resourceful – you’re given an assignment and you’re not sure the best way to approach it, but you know you have options. Great. Reach out to your account lead or manager and share your thoughts. “I know you’d like me to look up A, B and C, I’ve thought about it and can go about it using X, Y or Z.” Can’t find that document in the drive? Think about where it might be and ask a peer.

Ask questions – there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, albeit thoughtful ones. Take a step back, gather your thoughts in one place and ask away. Being clear upfront will only save you time in the long run and it’ll also help you manage expectations.

Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Do share.

Taryn Berman is an Account Supervisor at BlissPR in New York, N.Y. She has more than five years of experience in public relations and has supported global and U.S. healthcare corporations with product, internal and corporate communications. She’s particularly interested in consumer and advocacy-based programming. Berman graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a B.S. in public relations and a minor in political science.

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  • Excellent article. Very well written. I’m always reminding people that their mentors and co-workers want to help, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

  • Great blog. I can relate to this blog as I’m currently an AAE. Thanks for sharing, Taryn!

  • Great blog. I can relate to this blog as I’m currently an AAE. Thanks for sharing, Taryn!

  • Taryn Berman

    Thanks, Neli. Hope it was helpful! Thanks, Dan! 

  • I’m not 100% on the Be Bold and Ask Questions.  There are stupid ideas and dumb questions.  Be sure when you speak up that you are contributing something worthwhile, not speaking because you love to be the center of attention.  I worked at AT&T in an office of about a hundred people. There were several women who never let a topic pass without commenting or asking for clarification. Drove people crazy.