What I learned in my first six months at PRISM

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This is a post from PRISM’s Social Army – regular briefings on topics aligned to our business or close to our hearts. Today’s entry is from Angeline Nassif from PRISM’s Santa Monica office. 

A few weeks into my internship, I wondered if I slightly oversold myself during my interviews. I’m not saying I lied in any way—no one should ever lie in an interview—but I had to question if I made it clear that I had little hands-on experience in a real PR environment, when I landed my job at PRISM this May.

I took the PR and marketing classes in college, toiled with the obligatory unpaid PR internships that in due time got me less than expected (and I’m not just referring to my bank balance), and a year out of university had gained more sales experience with a job in IT after graduation than getting anywhere closer to my sports marketing goals. My first day at PRISM, I still didn’t know what a proposal deck or media list was.

I had quite a bit to learn, not only about our clients’ businesses, but also the business of PR; it was daunting, but exciting.

But in the past six months I’ve embraced agency life and picked up a few essentials

Know your brand
My first deck was terrible. Improper placements, inconsistent fonts and sizes and a lack of quick-wit savvy to boot. My colleagues had me work and rework my decks. Soon enough I realized that having that brand knowledge and doing the initial background work with the VI will always get you that much further (and save you time on doing multiple versions).

Seeing red doesn’t make you a poor account exec
After landing the full-time spot at PRISM, I gained more client-facing responsibilities. Yet my proposals, emails, itineraries – anything I wrote, really – came back with red ink all over the page. I thought I was a decent writer, but seeing all the edits was a blow to my ego at first. In time, I’ve seen that seeing red actually makes you a better writer and overall PR person. It reminds you where your devils sit – in the details.

You always have something to bring to the table
When I joined PRISM, I didn’t know what intellectual property or visual identity was. However, not knowing the PR ropes didn’t mean that I didn’t have unique skills to contribute while learning the processes. Being a global citizen, as a first-generation Egyptian-American, as well as an Angeleno, has led to greater awareness with our international clients, while still offering the Western perspective.

At first I was reserved in meetings, reluctant to share my thoughts. What do I know? I’m the new kid and my colleagues are the experts. But, we all read different publications and have different skills, experiences and approaches to thinking. Now, I am more confident in sharing my opinion. No matter your level of PR knowledge, the next big idea could be yours.

 

Angeline Nassif

If you’d like to contribute a post to PRISM’s social channels, email ntaylor@prismteam.com 

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