Piece appeared originally in StopPress.

You never forget your first job out of university.

Learning how to use Outlook – very different to Gmail (or Hotmail depending on your age). Pressing ‘send’ on your first client email after checking it for spelling errors 10 times. Fumbling your way through your first client presentation. Realising that going to work after a night out is VERY different to going to uni. The first time you receive positive feedback from a client* (*instantly forwards to parents). Learning the difference between bcc and cc… by accidently cc’ing instead of bcc’ing. Your first review. Your first industry event. Your first pay cheque.

 The first year in a proper, ‘grown up’ job can be an emotional rollercoaster of highs “This is amazing, I’m nailing life” and lows “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing”.

 With graduation season upon us, three grads from PHD Group shared what they have learned in their first job in media and PR.

Cheyenne Welham – SEM Executive 

One thing I’ve learned about the industry that they can’t possibly teach you in a classroom

Success as an agency means giving the client what they need – added true value in the form of measurable business results. However, as a student, I believed that success came as a result of trying desperately to give the client what they want.

If we do not understand the relationship between the needed results and the wanted deliverables, then we cannot add true value. As an agency, we can be experts in specific needs for specific clients. Now I know to develop that expertise and to please the client by understanding and predicting their needs better than they do.

My biggest lesson in my first year in the industry

Whether the client’s budget is $1k or $10m, building deep working relationships on a foundation of trust will foster the best results for the client, agency and employee. The opportunities I’ve had to work on some of NZ’s biggest clients come directly as a result of treating all the ‘small fish’ like they’re a $10m account. Consistent excellent client servicing will get you far.

The biggest misconception about what I do

I cannot count the number of emails that I receive querying Search Engine Optimisation – I do Search Engine Marketing.

The most valuable skill I learned at university

The ability to write about technical topics in an easy-to-understand manner. “Any fool can make something complicated”. All those essays had to count for something – right?

Career highlight so far

The opportunity to work on Spark alongside some of NZ’s smartest minds. The telco industry is incredibly dynamic and every day is a new challenge.

 What does being a challenger mean to you?

Always pushing the boundaries of what my title ‘limits’ me to, and never settling.

Kara Harris – Media Assistant

One thing I’ve learned about the industry that they can’t possibly teach you in a classroom

Social skills and networking. Our industry is pretty much built on the relationships you have with others- no matter who they are. Personality and kindness is something they can’t teach you in a classroom.

 My biggest lesson in my first year in the industry

The strategy that goes on behind the scenes as to why we do what we do. Before I entered the advertising/ media industry I really didn’t understand just how much strategy and planning was involved. The numerous programmes we have access to do planning/ research was also a pretty big learning curve.

 The biggest misconception about what I do

That all we do is go out to lunch and party haha

 The most valuable skill I learned at university

I would definitely say time management and written communication skills

 Career highlight so far

I would have to say our end of year ‘P-Diddy white party’ themed Christmas do! Was so good to just celebrate the previous year with everyone.  But I am really looking forward to the media awards!

 What does being a challenger mean to you?

Someone who is not afraid to speak up and discuss with others whether or not what we are doing is the best solution for all parties involved. Someone who is open to sharing ideas that may be a little outside of the box.

 Gabby Hight – PR Senior Account Executive (Drum)

 One thing I’ve learned about the industry that they can’t possibly teach you in a classroom

They could possibly teach this in the classroom but …. success never happens in a vacuum (individually) it’s always the combined effort of a lot of parties. It’s so important to be able to work with others and respect each other’s opinions.

 My biggest lesson in my first year in the industry

Overcommunicate – the more you are clear about expectations, delivery deadlines, content outputs, the results, the better. It’s the key to a campaigns’ success, to ensure all parties are on the same page.

 The biggest misconception about what I do

That the majority of my day is spent socialising at long lunches or giving away free products!

 The most valuable skill I learned at university

How to write and communicate clearly and in a concise manner – you are constantly talking to people and expressing  your ideas and thoughts, it’s extremely valuable to know how to do this in an appropriate and concise manner.

 Career highlight so far

Content Creation and Media Relations for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Presents campaign at New Zealand Fashion Week – working with a dynamic selection of very clever individuals on an incredibly successful brand was amazing.

 What does being a challenger mean to you?

Someone who questions the status quo, who isn’t afraid to dig deeper, thinking outside the box, doing something unconventional. The best ideas often come from those that are thought impossible.