10 Things I’ve Learned During My First Month at an Agency

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Jun 16, 2009 in Fahlgren Mortine, Internships

I’ve been working at Fahlgren Mortine for a month now. Here are 10 simple things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Double check everything. And then check it again. Then, just to be sure, check one more time.
  2. Turn in work “client ready.” Make sure everything is in the right font, color and size. Check on text wrap and images.
  3. Someone is watching you…so be enthusiastic in everything you do and be memorable.
  4. Network.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  6. Take extra opportunities (like going to that optional meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m.)
  7. Pay attention to company culture and politics.
  8. Jump at any opportunity to get experience.
  9. Don’t be afraid to come in early or stay late when needed.
  10. Realize you’ll probably make a few mistakes. Own up to them, learn your lesson and don’t obsess about it too much.

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Agency Life: Tracking Time

Posted by Rachel Esterline on May 28, 2009 in Career, Fahlgren Mortine, Internships

This is the first part in an ongoing series about working at an agency.

Even though it’s a very small part of working at an agency, tracking your time is very important.

For each task I do for every client, I must track how much time I spend working. I’ve discovered that this actually makes me more productive. At the end of the day, I have a quantifiable record of what I accomplished.

Tracking time also gives you a better idea on how long it takes to complete a particular kind of project.

Here are a three tips to make tracking time easier:

  1. Write down the start and stop time of each task you do. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to remember the times an hour or two later, let alone at the end of the day.
  2. When you complete the task, quickly calculate the amount of time you spent on the task. I hate doing a lot of math, so doing this saves me time and aggravation when it comes time to enter my hours in the program.
  3. When entering time and tasks into the program, highlight each task after you’ve entered it. This will keep you from entering it twice.

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The Road Not Taken

Posted by Rachel Esterline on May 19, 2009 in Fahlgren Mortine, Internships

Yesterday, I arrived in Ohio. I start my internship with Fahlgren Mortine tomorrow morning.

Internships offer valuable experiences and I believe accepting an internship outside of Michigan will give me a different perspective.

I could have taken the less stressful route, accepting an internship within close distance to my apartment. I could have avoided the tearful goodbyes. If I wouldn’t have come to Ohio, I wouldn’t have made my five hour drive into an eight hour drive by getting lost and/or off track multiple times.

But, by the end of the summer, I’m sure it will all be worth it. And when I graduate and start my career, I believe my internship and experiences with Fahlgren Mortine will put me “a step ahead.”

Reflecting on this, I am reminded of “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. Someday, when I have a successful career in public relations, I hope to be able to tell people that I had a choice between internships and I took the one that I considered to be less traveled…and I hope to be able to say that it made all the difference.

Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Fahlgren Mortine Award: 5 Things I Realized When Applying

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Mar 18, 2009 in Internships, Public Relations

I recently applied for Fahlgren Mortine’s Founder’s Award, which provides a paid summer internship and a $1,500 scholarship to a sophomore or junior. I had to submit a cover letter, resume, application form, two letters of recommendation, two writing samples and several completed assignments.

First of all, this was the most intensive internship application I have ever seen. To be totally honest, it was more work than some classes I have taken.

But, believe it or not, I had fun working on the assignments. The assignments enabled me to show the professionals at Fahlgren Mortine how I used my research, writing and PR skills.

Here are five things I realized (or was reassured about) when applying for this award:

1. Tweet to connect. Through Twitter, I found a news anchor who worked for the channel I wanted to pitch to. When researching, I was having trouble figuring out who exactly I would pitch to. I explained what type of client I was working for and what the pitch was about and she gave me several ideas of who I would contact, if this were a real pitch. Twitter once again is proved as a useful tool for communicators.

2. Brainstorm for ideas. One assignment was to create an event agenda.  I think I could have written a conference agenda with my page-long list. But, by brainstorming a lot of ideas, I was able to pick out the ones I thought worked best.

3. Crazy creative. I can’t completely suggest to be crazy creative, I guess, because I haven’t heard back about the internship. But, I created a logo for the client. The assignment didn’t say I needed to, but I felt the project would look better if it had one. Hopefully they don’t think I’m crazy for putting in the extra work.

4. Research, research, research. When creating the event agenda, I didn’t just choose speakers and activities that I thought would be good. I also researched venues in the city.  I was even able to choose which rooms I wanted to use for my event.

5. Paper matters. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I felt better putting my materials on nice, thick paper. It looked professional and clean. It might cost more money, but isn’t your career worth it?

Challenges inspire me. I’m not sure if it is because I like hard work, or if I just want to prove something, but I love a good challenge. The Fahlgren Mortine application was challenging, but I saw it as an opportunity to improve my skills. And, maybe I’ll even get an internship out of the deal! It was a great learning experience.

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