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A Day in the Life: Public Relations Assistant

7:00 a.m.: I “officially” start my work day at 9, but I always grab my phone as soon as I get up—to check e-mail, voice messages, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and our intranet, to make sure I’m on top of whatever’s come in during the night and in the wee hours of the morning. I’ll also scroll through nytimes.com and some other news sites, as well as Huffington Post, so I’ll have a clue what’s going on in the world. No matter what type of job you have in PR, you really have to keep your finger on the media pulse.

9:30 a.m.: Weekly staff meeting to review the status of accounts, projects, and upcoming events that we’re promoting. I usually help put together the meeting agenda, as directed by my boss, who’s the account team manager. I’ll e-mail this to the team the day before the meeting. This way we’re all on the same page. And also, if anyone has any changes to the agenda, I’ll have time to make those edits.

10:30 a.m.: Media list time. It’s my job to make sure the list is up to date with the right contact names, companies, and contact information. If I hear or read about a staff change, I’ll verify it first by calling the person or main company number directly, and then update the list to reflect the change. We have different lists also for different media, and I’m responsible for maintaining each of them. It’s not my all-time favorite part of the job. In fact, it’s kind of a pain in the neck, but I’ve come to appreciate the importance of it and that helps me stay motivated to just get it done.

11:30 a.m.: One-on-one meeting with the boss to review the editorial calendar for the next year. Our company added a new online publication recently and we have to map out the timeline for production and promotion, as well as revisit the schedule for other publications to adjust as needed. This calendar is always a work in progress.

12:15 p.m.: Work with the other account team coordinators and interns to put together and distribute press kits. We’re in one of the conference rooms for this task, and the company orders in lunch for us when we’re working on it.

2:30 p.m.: General administrative work for the team. This can be scattered throughout the day, in between other projects. Some examples of this include drafting an e-mail for the account manager, setting up a meeting for another manager to meet with my boss (I help him to manage his calendar), photocopying a report for another team member, and filing paperwork for different accounts. Sometimes the work comes in when I’m swamped with something else, so I’ve learned to discuss with the account team what I should make priority and what can wait.

4:30 p.m.: We have an awards event in a few weeks and we just learned that the photographer we’d planned to hire is booked on that date. My boss asks me to research event photographers and to come up with a list of about five that fall within our budget range and who also have experience in working with professional associations. Research, and coordinating events, is my favorite part of the job. I get started on this right away.

6:00 p.m.: Head out to social media workshop that’s being hosted by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I joined IABC as a student member when I was in college. When I interned at the PR firm, I had a mentor there who was also an IABC member. She introduced me to the organization when she brought me to one of their seminars as a guest. I learned a lot in those two hours alone, and really value staying educated throughout my career. What’s especially great is that my company pays for the classes that relate to the work we do, so it’s win-win for everyone.

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