Rising Pro

How to Help a New Hire Succeed

It’s hard starting a new job.

Everything is new, you’re not exactly sure where to go with questions and you often feel overwhelmed with all the information coming at you. But after a few months, you start to get your bearings, learn where to go for answers and feel more secure in your role.

I remember experiencing all of this recently when I started working at Salesforce this past summer. I went from confused to confident in a matter of months, but what made it easier was having coworkers who were willing to help me get up to speed. Without their guidance, I might still be lost!

Although it can be time consuming, annoying and even stressful to help out new hires, it’s important to remember how lost you felt on your first day, even during your first month. Just the thought of it will put you in the mindset to help someone feel confident as soon as possible.

But there’s something else you should keep in mind when offering help; don’t fall victim to the curse of knowledge.

The curse of knowledge is a “cognitive bias that leads better-informed parties to find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed parties,” (Wikipedia, July 2015).

Basically, it’s hard to remember what it’s like to not know what you already know. This happens more often than you think, especially if you’ve been working somewhere for a while.

But what seems obvious to you as a veteran employee may not be so obvious to a new hire. So when you’re addressing a question, make sure to give a comprehensive and clear answer that’s easy for anyone to understand, even someone outside your company. Here are some quick tips:

  • Don’t use internal acronyms or lingo unless you’re spelling them out
  • Give them some context
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Anticipate questions and address them in your response
  • Ask if everything makes sense

Also, although it may be hard at times, give people your full attention when addressing their questions. This will help you focus on providing more helpful insights and get them on their way faster, since they won’t have as many follow-up questions.

It’s easy to forget what it was like to be a new hire and how hard it can be, but try to always remember that feeling. Don’t let the curse of knowledge keep you from helping new coworkers be just as successful as you are.

How have you helped a new hire succeed?

Rising Pro

Goodbye MSLGROUP, Hello Salesforce

I have a big announcement.

After almost two years at MSLGROUP San Francisco, I’ve decided to take an amazing opportunity at Salesforce.

For those of you who don’t know, Salesforce is a global cloud computing company, headquartered in San Francisco. It’s best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) solution, which helps companies track and communicate with current and prospective customers. Salesforce has been recognized as the world’s most innovative company four years in a row by Forbes, and was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by FORTUNE. 

It’s an exciting change not only because it’s an awesome company, but also because I’m taking on a whole new type of role. I will be a keynote events manager, which means I will be on the team that plans and executes keynote presentations at major Salesforce events, including Dreamforce. The job is fast-paced, requires a lot of travel and provides the opportunity to work with senior executives.

Some of you may be thinking, what about PR? After a few years of soul searching, I’ve come to the realization that PR is not my true passion. Although I’ve learned a lot of great skills that I can take with me to any job, I have found that event management is what truly makes me happy. My last day at MSLGROUP is Thursday, July 2.

Leaving MSL will be bittersweet; it’s an amazing company that goes out of its way to help its employees succeed, learn and have fun. I have learned so many invaluable lessons from some truly brilliant people and I will never forget my time there. With that said, I’m happy to be moving on to a company that I’ve aspired to work at for years.

After submitting dozens of applications without success, completing a full round of interviews but not being selected, and then interviewing again for this position, I’ve learned one important lesson; persistence pays off. If you want something, don’t give up on it. Keep trying and don’t let setbacks discourage you. Believe me, it will pay off.

I would like to extend a special thank you to my friend, Kristen Boyen, who has worked at Salesforce for five years. She has been an amazing confidant and resource during my entire application process and I am forever grateful. I appreciate all the support and well wishes I’ve received thus far, and I look forward to sharing my adventures at Salesforce with all of you.

Looking Back at My First Year with MSLGROUP

It’s amazing how much progress you can make in a year.

My first desk at MSLGROUP
My first desk at MSLGROUP

One year ago today, I started at MSLGROUP as an account executive. On my first day at work, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and out of my element. I had to learn new skills and internal protocols, forge new relationships and quickly familiarize myself with all my new clients. I left my first day of work with a migraine in addition to feeling completely inadequate, wondering if I would ever get the hang of my new role.

365 days later, I’ve worked on eight accounts, helped win new business, developed relationships with several journalists, had amazing pitching success (something I was terrified of doing when I started), and I was promoted to a senior account executive. It hasn’t been easy and I’m still challenged every day, but after a year I finally feel like I’m good at my job and a valuable team member.

My current desk at MSLGROUP
My current desk at MSLGROUP

Your career will be full of these new beginnings, big and small, that teach you a lot and show you and others what you’re made of. Starting a new job is hard; it takes a lot of time, willpower and perseverance to fit in, excel and move up. It’s daunting at first and can seem impossible sometimes, but if you make the commitment to always improve, forgive yourself and work hard, you will flourish.

It’s been a wild ride so far; full of amazing highs, hard lessons and great learning experiences. As I look ahead, it seems like there is still a long way to go until I’m an expert in my field. But looking back and seeing how far I’ve come in the past year gives me the strength I need to forge confidently into the future.

Three New Job Challenges You Forgot About

Starting a new job is hard.

No matter how exciting or positive starting at a new company may be, it’s a huge change that comes with added stress.

After starting a new job recently myself, my initial excitement quickly turned into frustration and stress by the end of the first week. I forgot how hard changing your job can actually be, and came up against three reoccurring challenges that I’m sure most professionals face when switching gigs. But after a couple of months on the job, I have also learned how to start overcoming these challenges.

1. You Need to Relearn the Basics 

Even if you’re moving to a similar role in a new company, standard processes are different in every workplace. From completing administrative tasks to communicating with clients, every company has it’s unique way of doing things. To make the unfamiliar become familiar as quickly as possible, pay really close attention to each new process all while taking notes, asking questions and double checking with colleagues.

2. You Have to Prove Yourself

No matter how much respect or trust you had from your colleagues and boss at your last company, you’re starting from square one at your new one. This was a hard one for me because my former boss and manager had total faith in me and knew they could count on me to handle anything. But in a new company, you have to prove yourself in order to gain that type of trust and respect again. To prove yourself at a new company, seek out opportunities to shine, go the extra mile with your assignments and show results for your work.

3. You’re Not the Best (Yet)

If you were at your last company for a while, you were probably pretty good in your role and knew your industry, organization and clients well. When you start at a new company, you don’t have established relationships and you may have to learn a new industry or develop new skills. Not being initially knowledgable in these areas can make you feel ineffective in your role. However, it’s important to give yourself a break and allow the time to get up to speed. Do your research, even if it’s on your own time, and use your colleagues as resources. Then when you learn all the ins and outs of your company, industry and clients, you will have what it takes to be the best in your role.

What new job challenges have you faced?

Look Out for Your Opportunity

This month, I was given the right opportunity and I went for it.

Starting September 3, 2013, I will be an account executive at Schwartz MSL, a healthcare and technology public relations firm in San Francisco. It’s a big career change for me, so I wanted to share this exciting and pivotal time in my career with you.

I’ve been reflecting a lot in the past few months about where my career is heading and what I want for myself in the next ten years. So when presented with this opportunity, making a switch to this position and field seemed like a natural fit, helping me advance toward my ultimate goal of becoming a senior marketing/PR executive.

Although this is just a small step toward that goal, I feel very positive about actually making the change to get me where I want in my career, instead of staying in a role that wasn’t moving me toward my goal. As a career development blogger, I wanted to use this platform to share this big career change and also take this opportunity to recognize some amazing professionals (who are also readers) that helped me land the job; my three references.

  1. Amos Snead, my former supervisor during my internship at FD, a public affairs agency in Washington, D.C., who is now a principal at Story Partners, LLC, a public affairs firm in D.C. He has been a reference and mentor to me since 2009, and I could not have gotten to this point without his continuous help throughout the years.
  2. Courtney Farrell, my former supervisor during my internship at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley, who is now a field representative at 3CORE, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation. She has been a great friend and mentor to me since 2010, and I hope to become the kind of ambitious professional that she is some day.
  3.  Robert Armstrong, my freelance PR/Marketing client, cofounder and VP of client relations at Appstem Media, which specializes in the design and development of mobile apps. Robert has been championing me since day one, and I’m glad I have been able to help him as much as he has helped me.

In closing, I will leave you with this; don’t wait to follow your career dreams. If you’re in a job that you know isn’t getting you where you want to go, look for opportunities to change course and when your time comes, take a different route. I look forward to updating you all on my new role as time goes on, and if you need a good PR firm, let me know 😉

You Can’t Learn it All

Exactly two years ago today, I was scared out of my mind.

It was my first day at EXL Landa, formally Landacorp, and the beginning of my career. I remember walking through the parking lot on that foggy February morning and then entering through the large glass doors 10 minutes early, looking slightly overdressed (just in case) and not knowing what to expect.

The day was a flurry of acronyms, protocols, new faces and tons of information. By the end of the day, I remember coming home and sitting on the couch and thinking to myself, “How am I going to learn it all?”

Flash forward two years later and I’m managing digital marketing strategies, planning tradeshows, events and webinars, and creating marketing content. Then I was asked to join the corporate marketing team for EXL Service, who acquired Landacorp in October 2012, where I specifically focus on event planning and promotional campaigns.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way from being overwhelmed on the couch that first day. However, I’ve realize I was asking myself the wrong question.

I will never “learn it all.” What’s more important is to learn everything you can about what will make you successful in your role. Since you will probably change companies many times, it’s important to focus on learning all you can about your discipline, because you are more likely to stay in your same role rather than your same company in your career.

After only two years, I’m proud to still be in the same organization because I’ve learned a lot about marketing, and it’s provided me with a good foundation for my career. Now looking forward, the question is not ‘How will I learn it all?’ but rather, ‘How can I learn to succeed in my role.”

What have you learned?