Enjoying the Ride from Intern to AAE

Mariah Botkin

By Mariah Botkin, Associate Account Executive

During my three-month internship at The Hoffman Agency, I grew into a far stronger communicator, learning industry lessons and discovering things about myself along the way. As I transition to an associate account executive, I reflect on several sentiments that underscore my PR journey thus far.

Teamwork makes the dream work

I would describe myself as an introvert. I was never the first to jump up in excitement when a teacher assigned a group project. Working alone has always been my jam.

But after my first few months at Hoffman, the maxim “teamwork makes the dream work” rings truer than ever. In a nutshell, my favorite part of Hoffman to date is the support, mentorship and camaraderie that I have found from the team.

Between the newfound understanding that it’s okay to ask for help, the team-driven review process that has catalyzed my growth and bouncing ideas off one another to drive better creativity, it’s safe to say that I love being part of a team and more importantly, part of Hoffman’s team.

Time flies — especially when you are having fun

PR moves fast. As an A+ student taking on multiple jobs, extracurriculars and research opportunities, I thought my transition to agency life would be seamless. However, I found that entering a new industry (I majored in literature and journalism) and learning how to work in the 9-5 framework caught me off guard. I’ve had to figure out how to communicate my bandwidth, so I can deliver professional work and successfully learn while doing so.

Even as I navigate the learning curve of working in a fast-paced industry, I find myself captivated by the PR grind. The speed at which the day’s turnover feels like I’m running in a 100-meter sprint. Monday quickly becomes Friday as I bounce around tasks. (It’s true — time does fly when you’re having fun.)

Dive in … and then dive deeper

My favorite part of working in PR is exploration. If you google “search data analytics,” for example, thousands of articles pop up. Sifting through the noise to find relevant topics, scrolling through Twitter to uncover kernels of nuance and stalking my clients’ LinkedIn to find exciting stories leave me excited to log on.

Like I said above, PR moves fast — but I’ve found that’s half the fun. You must stay on top of trends, let go of doubt and pitch innovative ideas — some of my favorite advice I’ve received is to “throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks.”

The more you jump into the media waters and dive deeper — the more you bring original, creative ideas to the pitching table.

Overcommunication in a communications industry is key

It feels too ironic to say I struggle to communicate as a communicator; alas, it’s true. Effective communication is crucial in any profession but is especially important in PR, as it allows you to build relationships with the media, clients and teammates.

The best advice I’ve received is that overcommunication is key. From letting people know when you’ll be in the office 15 minutes late following a doctor’s appointment to telling your team you are compiling a big report for one of your accounts, learning how to communicate your own needs, bandwidth and boundaries manages expectations and prevents misunderstandings to enable more effective collaboration.

Let go, but stay curious

My advice for those seeking a PR career is to embrace curiosity and learn to let go. Tech PR is a ride filled with unfamiliarity and learning. From learning lingo to drafting content, come prepared with questions and an appetite for learning, but let go of any expectations; instead focus on embracing feedback — it’s there to help you grow.

As you learn to let go, know that every successful pitch is in front of a multitude of unsuccessful pitches. Noticing a grammar mistake in an email just means you’ll be more careful next time. And most importantly, come excited to share ideas but be okay when one doesn’t stick.

Use your curiosity to drive your journey, but, of course, don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

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