Five Insights from Working at a PR Agency

by Melanie Ararat

Curley & Pynn Public Relations Management was introduced to me through UCF’s Intern Pursuit Bootcamp earlier this year. I was a journalism major contemplating making the switch to public relations. Fast forward seven months, and I am now Curley & Pynn’s newest communications specialist. At that time, I never dreamed that my first job out of college would be at one of Orlando’s most prestigious PR firms. Working in an agency is a different experience for me in so many ways, but I have also found that some of my previous experiences translate directly to the type of work I’ve been given in my first month on the job. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time, and now that Intern Pursuit is once again around the corner, I am excited to share some insights I wish I had known about agency life with students who will soon be joining the workforce.

  1. Scope of Work: Of course, I was aware of the numerous clients with which PR agencies work, but I didn’t fully understand what this meant until my first week at Curley & Pynn. Our clients are in varying industries, which requires us to wear different hats and become experts in multiple fields. Recently, I found myself drafting a crisis management plan one day and facilitating a press conference with a congresswoman the next. Being prepared to dive into things I haven’t done before has given me access to invaluable industry knowledge.
  2. Timekeeping: One of the biggest adjustments I had to make from my in-house internships to my agency job was the concept of tracking time. Team members are expected to log the time they spend on each project – an activity that took some getting used to but is clearly instrumental in tracking client budgets and measuring internal capacity.
  3. Writing, Writing and More Writing: As a UCF graduate with a journalism degree, I knew that the writing aspect of public relations would be my strong suit. Looking back at my first month, I’ve noticed that most of my work assignments have involved writing (about which I am over the moon). Successfully learning about a topic that was previously foreign to me and turning around a writing project as a subject-matter expert has been an amazing feeling. I am looking forward to writing for even more clients and learning about other industries to feed my curiosity.
  4. Collaboration is Key: As a typical introverted writer, I’m not used to working in big groups. Throughout college, I mostly stayed in my corner and feverishly wrote article after article. However, collaboration is the name of the game at Curley & Pynn where I discovered just how vital teamwork is. Not to sound cliché, but two heads are better than one when it comes to client work. Brainstorming and strategizing sessions are filled with ideas bouncing around the room that are only improved through input from the team. I have become a huge fan of collaborating with others, which is shocking because it is a complete 180-degree turn from how I felt only a month ago.
  5. Utilizing Your Uniqueness: Knowing what you bring to the table is highly important when working at a PR agency. I included photography skills on my resume, not thinking that I would utilize those skills on the job any time soon. I was proven wrong on my third week at Curley & Pynn when I was asked to take photos at a media event. By offering a unique set of skills, I was able to support a client by doing something I love while supporting the team and diversifying my experience.
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