A year ago, if someone had told me where I would be professionally today, I would have rolled my eyes in disbelief. This September marks the end of my first year at DCC, and I can’t believe all of the learning and growth opportunities I’ve received.
Working at a small firm has given me a great career start in the communications industry. I’ve had the benefit of maintaining daily contact with every team member (including our CEO Dale) and each of our clients.
Here are three takeaways from my first year at DCC:
1. Expect the Unexpected
In public relations, each day is different. While I do have a daily list of action items, I’ve learned to be prepared for the unexpected.
At first that proved difficult, but I’ve developed organizational skills and a flexible mindset to take on the challenges facing me every day. I’m gaining the ability to pause my current assignments for something that needs my immediate attention, and then switch back to the first assignment, without sacrificing quality.
2. Be Eager to Learn
Before coming to DCC, several internships had given me tools and insights to use in my new position. But in order to grow, I still had to be open to learning about industries that were unfamiliar to me, software programs I had never used, and how to accept criticism and advice from those around me.
One of my biggest accomplishments this past year was creating a 54-page briefing booklet with InDesign, a program I had never used before. I stepped up and took responsibility for this project, knowing I would have to develop a working understanding of an advanced design program. Now I can contribute design elements to projects for clients and DCC, something I had never even thought of doing.
3. Communicate Effectively
Communications is my job, and yet it is something that still requires daily effort to do well within the office. Just because I’m in a small firm, it doesn’t mean my colleagues know what I’m working on, and vice versa. To be able to work as a team, we have to communicate effectively with each other, especially if we need help or have concerns.
Throughout this year there have been instances where I waited too long before raising a concern, hoping that the problem would work itself out. I quickly learned, however, that if I don’t say something, it could be that nobody knows an issue even exists! I’ve gotten more comfortable both in expressing myself and presenting my concerns in a tactful way.
One of my biggest takeaways is to listen carefully to others, whose perspectives have just as much merit as my own. Communication is a two-way street, meaning you need to listen and take in what other people are saying.
I’ve learned so many things this past year, growing both as a person and within my career. I’ve gone from writing social media posts to handling media queries and developing campaign strategies, although I still have much to learn.
I am excited to see where this next year will take me, and to know that the lessons I’m learning will influence my career for years to come!