"A good AC must be organized, attentive to details, smart and able to make decisions independently."
What have been the most defining moments along your career path?
My regular duties include managing the numerous project and activity reports we have to submit to our clients each week, plus research and analysis. Whenever anyone needs information about anything -- what a particular writer at a particular publication is saying about a competitor, which journalists cover our clients and what their personal interests are, what messages analysts are sending about a product, you name it -- it's my job to come up with that information and to present it in a concise but comprehensive, understandable way. One of the strangest projects I had was to pull together a list of "fun" numbers, to illustrate statistical information about one of our clients. For example, the client has a presence in X number of countries -- the same as MacDonald's (or something like that). I was given a list of statistics about the client and had to pull comparisons from all kinds of sources. My role at is atypical of that of the average AC here. A typical AC job is to help coordinate an AE's and client's participation in tradeshows - by putting together schedules and briefing books, pushing any press releases or other press materials through the legal process, etc. It's a lot of behind-the-scenes work and really gives an AC a clear picture of the industry.
How did you get your big breaks?
I started at as an administrative assistant to the entire office before becoming an account coordinator (AC) with our biggest account team.
What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?
A good AC must be organized, attentive to details, smart and able to make decisions independently. Self-confidence is important, and the ability to deal well with people - respectfulness, friendliness, patience. ?It helps to be calm and unflappable, as emergencies frequently arise. Also, a sense of humor helps - it's not uncommon to spend hours or days on a crucially important project, only to have the client decide he or she no longer needs it. Finally, brush up on your technology skills - if you're not familiar with basic word processing and other common office software programs, learn them.
What have you learned from your experience?
I think I was surprised about just how strong the service ethic is in PR. Obviously, in whatever job you're doing, you have to please someone --your boss, the client. In PR, you have to indulge a lot of client whims. Whatever your client wants, you're expected to provide it, with a smile. This comes up a lot when traveling with a client, on a press tour or at a tradeshow. I've heard stories of PR professionals taking their clients' clothes to the dry-cleaner, fetching sandwiches for a meeting, or (very common) having to answer a 3:00 a.m. call regarding an e-mail message or some other "emergency".
What most excites you about your job right now?
The lifestyle is also fun, in part because of the fast pace. It's rare to have a boring day, because something is always happening.
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