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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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Agency Life, Internships and Resume Advice with a Ketchum AAE

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Feb 20, 2009 in Career, Internships, PRSSA, Public Relations, Resume

A few weeks ago I talked on the phone with my mentor I was paired with through the Mentorship Connection. Kevin Saghy, an assistant account executive at Ketchum, graduated from Ohio Northern University. HeĀ  served as PRSSA national vice president of chapter development during his junior year and was national president his senior year.

Here are a few of the great points he made:

About Agency Life

Kevin said agencies have an exciting work atmosphere and provide an opportunity to work with really smart people and on a variety of accounts. The hardest thing, he said, is to balance time between several clients and manage deadlines.

Internships

Kevin suggested getting as many internships as you can get and have completed at least two by graduation. Agencies generally like to see some prior experience at an agency, but varied experience helps too.

Resumes

Kevin, who has had an inside look at Ketchum’s hiring processes, said relevance is important and experience trumps education. He suggested I organize my resume with relevance in mind; I had been unsure of whether or not I should list all of my experience (which would put my last internship towards the bottom), or sort it by professional and college experiences. By sorting these experiences, I was able to put my internship right up top.

My favorite thing he said about resumes: “It’s not a formula. You don’t need to listen to career services to get a job.”

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Agency PR with Robert Kolt

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Dec 26, 2008 in Internships, PRSSA, Public Relations

Over the next several weeks, I will be posting some content from my previous other PR blog. This was originally posted on March 31, 2008 after the CMU PRSSA 6th Annual Spring Conference
“The Road to Reinvention”

Session 1: “Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

Robert Kolt is CEO and president of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation in Okemos, Mich. Kolt is a CMU alumni with an undergraduate degree in broadcast & cinematic arts and journalism. He also holds a graduate degree in communications from MSU.

Kolt said his corporation does a lot of strategic communications. For example, he might do research for a politician and tell them the facts and what they should say. Another example would be interview rehearsals for Consumers Energy’s CEO.

Kolt Communications, Inc. offers media training, including message development strategies, speaking and presentation skills and media interview techniques. He helps stage events that “help make news.” Kolt Communications, Inc. is licensed as a fundraiser as well. Kolt said that fundraising and grant writing are growing areas in the industry.

One past client Kolt talked to students about was a lottery winner who wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want his face shown because he had a criminal record. His company also has staged fires to show crisis communication skills, done ground breakings and has handled a crisis situation with the United Way.

Kolt gave three steps to crisis management:
1. Prevention
2. Detection
3. Extinguishing

He said that many businesses don’t come to him until they need help with step three.

Kolt Communications, Inc. usually takes one or two interns who are paid $10 per hour. He said he looks for a good writer and hard worker with good interpersonal skills.

Kolt said that he does not actively pitch to businesses. Many clients come to him through referrals or he bids on projects. One thing to remember, Kolt said, is “it’s not about you, it’s about your client.”

On starting your own firm, Kolt suggested the following:
1. Create relationships – Never burn any bridge
2. Be honest, knowledgeable, and creative
3. Add value and power to clients
4. Be philanthropic

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Agencies are valuable

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Aug 18, 2008 in Public Relations

In the future, I would like to spend time working at a PR agency. I think the experience will be priceless, even if I move to another area of PR later on.

In PR Squared, Todd Defren wrote on the value of PR agencies. It’s nice to see how your future clients might see you.

On another note, today I just realized I have only seven days until classes start. Make that six, considering today is almost over. Where did the summer go? I spent my summer on campus as an intern for CMU Public Relations & Marketing. At least this summer was a productive one.

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