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Transforming from an Individual Contributor to a Team Player

san jose pr shipra shukla

By Shipra Shukla, Intern

There is a line in the movie The Last Word — “You don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make you.” I was awestruck by Shirley MacLaine’s character in the movie. Not at all worried about what others think, overly ambitious, a risk taker and bold enough to redefine her comfort zone at the age of 82! This movie made me think about how we cannot see the best in ourselves and how we choose not to challenge our potential to be better!

Post-graduation, I was looking for the right start. While working as a communication consultant with a cloud-native SaaS product, I came across the internship program at The Hoffman Agency; I was looking forward to working in an agency environment.

I knew building my career in PR needed an encouraging workplace. As I scrolled through the blogs shared by previous interns, one common theme emerged — the privilege to ask questions! Additionally, one of the skills listed for the internship role mentioned having a sense of humor as a requirement. 😊 I chuckled as I read that twice and felt a sense of belonging!

Having made it through these three months of learning and unlearning, my perception of PR as a profession has shifted. First off, PR is not an easy profession! It takes a whole army of professionals to develop strategies, help clients understand problems and goals, and define narratives that may help shape public perception of organizations.

Before my internship, I never imagined how challenging it could be to write simple messages for social media platforms or to search for onsite outreach for upcoming events or conferences. The pitch drafts, curation, personalization, updating media lists and blog drafting can take quite a bit of time, initially. Despite having a decade of experience in broadcast journalism, I was bewildered during the first few weeks. To me, client meetings seemed more daunting than presenting live news!

The internship program at The Hoffman Agency has been designed to be process-oriented, with each entry-level cohort session consisting of step-by-step information. From the first week of onboarding to the last leg of the internship, teams made sure that as an entry-level cohort, we felt supported and not overwhelmed with a plethora of information.

Depending on your adaptability and comfort levels, the tasks are assigned, giving enough room to learn and perform. The approach is to first help understand the agency environment, tools and platforms, then the accounts, scope of work and deliverables. Potentially, agency life provides the opportunity to develop multiple skills, ranging from leadership skills to time management and multi-tasking.

Starting with the media monitoring, flagging and drafting rapid response opportunities, I learned to enjoy pitching media. Another attraction for me was to transform into a team player from an individual contributor.

Now, entering the final phase of my internship, I’ve learned nobody expects you to know everything right away! Understanding tech-related terms and context and developing the skill of injecting news-value to client is a skill that needs fostering. Being able to show strategic thinking, staying relevant and staying comfortable in the chaos help you to succeed in tech PR.

Agency life is full of opportunities — as a PR professional, you can help the media to find meaningful stories to create an impact!

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