I just spoke with a dynamite young professional who is moving to the mid-west and leaving Matter after four years – Molly, we will miss you! – and that quick chat reminded how I am able to see more clearly the characteristics of an agency that provides employees with a career rather than just a job. (It’s visibility I have now, after working for a number of agencies over the years!)
If you are a young PR professional looking for an agency gig, here’s what I suggest you prioritize:
First, you should be certain the firm you are considering focuses on its people – and is more action than just words. Far beyond the benefits package, you should ask good questions during the interview process, and you should follow closely their social media pages with an eye toward employee vibe and tone. You should seek an environment that has a structure that supports social happenings, but opportunity for all employees to contribute to the culture.
Second, you should investigate the agency’s track record and only consider joining a firm that makes good business decisions, and is stable and sound. You want to be sure you join while the agency is on an upward trajectory, and while you are heads-down in getting results, you want to be confident in the decision-makers who can set you up for future success.
Third, if you have the flexibility to travel, you should look for a firm that has multiple offices and a growing presence nationwide. Working at such a shop will allow you to experience new people and cultures, while being supported by colleagues and teammates. Professionally you will have the opportunity to add to your resume and portfolio by working on clients who require broad, national support, and personally you will meet new people in new communities. (And, as we’ve experienced at Matter, home is what you may end-up calling these new places you visit!)
Fourth, you should look for an environment that’s crackling with creativity and activity. You have options, but you want to be in a place where the work is top-notch and the results are a source of pride for the agency. You want to know that you have an opportunity to contribute to the success of clients large and small, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn from all of that experience. You also want to know that new business is a process always underway, and new ways of doing what we do are always being discussed by colleagues and managers.
And, finally, you want to join an agency that has an entrepreneurial spirit – and gets that they work for the purpose of seeing their clients succeed. You want to have a partnership-like relationship with your clients, and you want to be able to suggest and deliver highly creative campaigns that drive business results. You also want to know that a channel exists for ideas you may have for strengthening the client’s program and your agency overall.
Did I mention that we’re looking for good people to join our team in Boston, Providence, Portland (OR), and Boulder, so reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if any of the above describes an environment you seek.