By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and PR account coordinator 

I remember every detail of the day I graduated from Kent State University.

It was a hot and sunny day. Friends, family members and teachers were squished next to one another, using the booklets they were given to fan themselves and cool off. Surrounding me were hundreds to thousands of students in black robes, with quotes written on their graduation caps, from the sentimental “Thanks Mom and Dad” to  the hilarious “Because Hogwarts doesn’t accept FAFSA.”

I remember eventually walking across that stage, praying to every spiritual entity that I wouldn’t fall flat on my face. I remember accepting my degree in public relations and looking out into the crowd.

At that moment, I thought about the countless hours I had spent studying in the Kent State Library, writing campaigns, preparing elevator pitches and learning the difference between SEO and SEM. (Thanks a ton, Professor Stefanie Moore.) And I remember thinking that I had learned everything I needed to know about marketing, public relations and the communications field as a whole.

Boy, was I wrong.

Don’t get me wrong – I would not trade my education at Kent State University for anything in the world. I am forever grateful to all the professors who used their time and energy to teach me all that they could about the sectors they had worked in. I was definitely prepared when I graduated – however, and I am sure that my professors would agree, there are still so many lessons to learn about your career after the years you spend inside of classrooms and lecture halls.

These lessons can only come from experience.

During my past five months of employment at Dot Org Solutions, I have had the chance to see many aspects of the marketing and public relations world. Since we work with several different types of organizations, we juggle different tasks. And, for the past three months in particular, I have faced many obstacles and celebrated many successes that I had not read about in books or seen on PowerPoint slides.

The three most important things I have learned while working in a marketing and fundraising consulting agency are:

  1. Your day will rarely go the way you plan – so, be prepared!

Although college is challenging, there are aspects of it that are clear and linear. A professor gives you an assignment and a due date. You (sometimes at the last minute – admit it; we are all guilty of doing it) complete the assignment. You turn the assignment in on that due date. Simple enough, right?

This is not what real life in a marketing or public relations agency is like.

Projects get pushed back or moved forward. Clients ask for changes. News releases come out and you have to answer phone calls from reporters while working on another assignment.

I cannot tell you the amount of times I have woken up, expecting my day to go one way, arrived at Dot Org Solutions’ office and had it go completely different. It’s one of the main reasons I love my job. It is never boring.

Working in an agency taught me that anything can happen in the marketing and public relations world. So, I try to be prepared for everything.

  1. Your work does not end after your 9 to 5 shift.

Prior to my college graduation, I had never worked a “typical” work shift. I worked primarily at a movie theater, where I came to work at 5 p.m. and oftentimes left by 2 a.m. I also worked as a tour guide, and those shifts would last four hours with breaks in between. Basically, I did not understand what Dolly Parton was talking about – and I was scared of the prospect of sitting at a desk for eight hours, going home and repeating the same schedule every day.

Thankfully, I chose a career path where this was not the case.

Sure, I have a standard shift. However, the work I do does not end during this time frame. Sometimes, I find myself checking Twitter during dinnertime to see what audiences are saying about a client. (After all, the world of social media never sleeps.) Other times, a client will also host events after work and I attend to show support.

No matter the case, I have found myself leaving my “marketing and public relations headspace” later than intended – and I am totally content with that.

The work of marketing and public relations professionals never stops, no matter the time of day.

  1. Language is important.

During my time at Kent State University, I learned how to distribute content. I studied the ins and outs of Facebook, created newsletters on Constant Contact and wrote press releases until I was blue in the face. However, when I started developing content and communicating with clients at Dot Org Solutions, I began to realize something else.

The tools you use to deliver your message are important – however, the actual message you are delivering matters so much more.

In my three months of developing content for clients, there have been times when writer’s block has taken over and I have sat at my computer, feeling frustrated and confused. My supervisor, our director of marketing and PR services, Jeanine Black, figured out what was wrong. I kept trying to write what Lauryn Rosinski would say, not what the client would say.

You cannot effectively market a client until you understand the voice of a client.

I have also found that you cannot work successfully with a client without using appropriate language. Your clients may not understand the marketing world – and that is okay. It is not their job to know – it is yours. Using the best words when explaining the marketing process to a client is the only way your relationship will continue to flourish and succeed.

We are communicators. What we say matters.

When I walked across that stage, I could not imagine that I would be where I am today professionally. Thanks to my time at Dot Org Solutions, I am slowly growing into a better marketing and public relations professional.

I still have a lot to learn – and I cannot wait.