Mind the gap – Nuggets on professionalism at entry level

After a week of being introduced to the basics of the industry, we were given an insight into what is expected of us as young professionals. This was a very interesting discussion as it touched on issues which many entry levels would not immediately think of going into a new role.

It is understood that professionalism in the workplace at entry level is usually seen as something that creates separation between those who will flourish in their careers and those who will find the going tough from the outset. In my view, when it comes to the PR industry, the criteria for what marks a professional person often differs depending on the company they are working for.

The wide scope of influence of the industry means that each firm has its own unique identity. This ranges from small boutique agencies which pride themselves on their fresh approaches to big multinational companies which value a strong adherence to their policies and ethos.

Therefore, there is a need for a graduate to be able to adjust to the company culture and values, as well as understand their way of doing things. This ranges from adhering to the dress code to being on time for absolutely everything.

One key attribute which marks a professional person in PR at entry level is how they work in a team. This is about the graduate’s ability to collaborate with others for a common goal; a big feature of entry level work. It also refers to whether they can demonstrate integrity in terms of pulling their weight and doing what they say they would do.

Being proactive in your new role also sets you apart at entry level. Spending time broadening your knowledge is something that would not only make you stand out but also highlight your commitment to personal growth and the company’s success. It is important for an entry level in PR to exhibit their competence by demonstrating their ability to do tasks to a good standard. It is worth noting that focusing on being right should take precedent over being first.

Also tied to this would be the self-awareness of knowing when to ask for help. This is because by being able to seek guidance when you need it, you will struggle less with difficult tasks. It is also important to have diplomacy which means knowing when to say something and when to hold back. It is important to judge your audience as well as being aware of your surroundings when you address certain topics which have the potential to cause distress.

Leading on from that, another key attribute to have at entry level is emotional intelligence. Having a better understanding of yourself and how you respond to external stimuli (frustrations from outside the workplace) as well as how others respond to the same truly shows your preparedness for working in a professional environment. This is because by being self-aware and aware of others and their changing emotions, you can successfully adapt your approach to engagements, information, and tasks.

Overall, the above-mentioned attributes would create a platform any entry level can truly launch themselves from. However, these are not the only expectations so please do mind the gap.

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