By Anish Mandal, Account Executive
With the National Apprenticeship week having just gone by, I’ve been having a moment of reflection – thinking about where I am now in my career, about how I got here, and what’s in store for the future. I’ve been at the Hoffman Agency for just over a year now, and what a year it’s been. Opportunity isn’t something that often comes and stares you in the face, but when it does, it’s important to take a hold and make the most of it.
No one’s path is ever the same, and the so-called “traditional route” doesn’t suit everyone. Professional life is often all about trial and error, navigating forks in the road and balancing decisions to find your place. The way we reach that point of comfort and stability is full of meanders, or tangents, rather than a straight line. There are just too many unknown factors that have an influence – the bleak pandemic is a perfect example.
Sometimes this isn’t the case, I’ve known people who have known since day one what they want to be and have the luck, or straight up raw determination to get there. I am not one of those people. I’m a living example that finding a path that fits our niche can be tough – I graduated from university with a degree in Accounting and Finance and moved through five completely different roles before I settled into my PR career at the agency.
However, there’s a plague in every industry where organisations seek experience even for entry level jobs. It’s a challenge that pretty much everyone faces, unless their dad’s the Prime Minister, runs a big investment bank, or both. Organisations can overlook the possibility of offering that experience themselves.
In looking to sift the gravel from the gold, there’s a danger that we miss other precious stones which might simply need a bit of polishing to shine just as brightly. Agencies play a critical role in providing the experience and environment that help people learn and grow organically.
I pride myself on being someone who enjoys working under pressure, jumping in at the deep end to fully immerse myself in a new role. However, sometimes it’s best to walk before running, and this role has been a testament to finding a challenging yet rewarding career path.
B2B tech has turned out to be one of the most disruptive and transformative industries out there – the landscape is constantly evolving, and the PR industry has had to evolve with it. There are so many aspects of the public relations remit to keep up with – the integration of new forms of media, social, as well as content marketing and SEO. PR is vastly more dynamic than I anticipated.
However, it’s important when embarking on a career in such a fast-moving field, especially one that is new or unknown to you, to establish a structured learning and development process. As I said before, I love to jump in at the deep end, but sometimes it can be a challenge to stay afloat – trying to tread water, but instead floundering and, in the worst case, drowning.
Imposter syndrome is a real phenomenon, I’ve experienced it in previous roles, however, the fear of the unknown amplified it. Yet, the agency has helped me find my groove. The team have created an environment that allows mistakes to be made, providing constructive feedback letting everyone learn and grow. They know that it’s natural to have weaknesses, but that it’s also important to highlight strengths, reinforcing them and creating a pathway to become a well-rounded professional.
The golden path
This doesn’t really come as a surprise. The European team is already well versed in helping young professionals find their place. They have a solid track record in introducing learners to the industry and giving them a flavour of how it operates, setting them up for success – not to mention having an award winning internship programme as a testament to their excellence. Two of our UK team members started their PR journey as interns, curating their craft with the tried and true structured learning pathway before joining as full-time employees.
Internships aren’t the only options out there. As I said before, there’s no traditional route. Other learning and development pathways such as apprenticeships, graduate schemes and work experiences are strong alternatives that young PR prospects can look to. With so many options, it’s never been more accessible to get your foot in the door.
Eyes on the horizon
I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful to have found my place at the agency. To be surrounded by brilliant people on a daily basis is scary and daunting, but also exciting, challenging and eye opening. The future is always uncertain, but I’m excited to be well on track on my own personal journey. Being part of an ecosystem that wants me to succeed and explore my passions is refreshing and encouraging, and I cannot wait for what’s in store.
We’re always keen to hear from people looking to start their own journey in the agency. Email us at [email protected] if you’d like to set up a conversation.