Are you an entry-level or early stage communications professional looking to start your career or move to another job?
We’ve gathered our wisdom on a few items you should consider before jumping at that job opportunity. All of these items can affect your day-to-day activities — and your job satisfaction.
1. How does senior management view communication? It helps to know as much as possible about how the top brass views the role of communications. Do they see public relations as playing a strategic role in the organization’s growth and success, or do they see communications as a supporting role in the company’s larger sales or marketing efforts? Similarly, find out as much as you can about how management views media relations and social media. Are they willing to meet the press and put themselves (or the organization) out there on social media? Do they see value in these tools?
2. What is the organizational culture? This is basically the day-to-day environment in which you will work. Does the organization spend a lot of time planning things in advance, or does it act more spontaneously in response to events of the day? There is always an element of spontaneity in public relations — sometimes, you have to react or respond quickly to events. You have to be nimble and seize the right opportunities to obtain media coverage or get your message out to your audience. However, spending all of your time reacting and little time planning can eventually result in burn out — and loss of quality control.
3. What is the communications mix? Does the workload fit well within your skill set, yet still provide growth opportunities? Ideally, you should be familiar with the main communication tools the organization uses to reach its various constituencies. For example, if video production is a key component of the organization’s communications mix, you should be familiar with how to write a solid script and visualize a story. However, you should have opportunities to learn new skills. Along these lines, consider whether you will have a mentor who can help you learn the industry and navigate you through the organization, or if you will be left to your own devices to learn the ropes.
There isn’t any right or wrong answer to any of these questions. How you answer depends on your work style, how you learn on the job, and what makes for a satisfying work experience. Good luck!