Any graduate starting a job within their chosen industry will feel as though they have plenty of beneficial skills that they bring to the new role; communication and great time keeping are a couple of great examples. But sometimes you will arrive with a skill set you acquired in previous jobs, and find yourself wondering how on earth you can translate these into you new role.
But hear this: you are not alone, and those previous skills will have taught you more than you think. For those starting out on the first rung of the career ladder, it is completely normal to wonder how past roles have prepared you, and here at Bring Digital we value any skills that our employees have. And so, we want to put this into context for you, by showcasing 5 skills that can be easily transferred from a call centre, a common first job for graduates, to the incredibly exciting and ever-changing role of a Digital PR Executive.
In a call centre the “people” are the customers on the other end of the phone, and in the world of digital PR the “people” would be your clients and the big wide world of media. Customers who feel the need to contact call centres have an immediate distrust of the staff, and any customer representative must work extra hard to get them on side. As a Digital PR Executive one of your main tasks is to make sure both clients and the media are happy and a mutual resolution is reached, so being able to build a strong bond of trust is paramount.
One foolproof way to get a person on your side, whether that is a customer, client or a journalist, is by showing them genuine empathy. The words “you must empathise and put yourself in the customer’s shoes!” will continually ring (excuse the pun) in the ears of a call centre advisor. Any good Digital PR Executive will be able to show empathy to their clients in order to fully understand what they are trying to achieve, and therefore manage their expectations and understand their objectives.
During the day-to-day activities of a call centre there are times when acting under pressure is your only choice. Working furiously to reduce a call list of 80 customers, while a manager is breathing down your neck ensuring you don’t pause too long between calls, can be very stressful. This is a great way to prepare an individual for the potential pressures of working in digital PR, especially if disaster strikes or you have to work super quick to jump on a journalist’s request in order to earn your client good exposure within a tight deadline. Keeping a calm, clear head is a must.
Telephone etiquette is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone; some people avoid picking up the phone at all costs! Working in a call centre you have no choice but to “smile while you dial”. The caller on the other end of the phone can only hear you. They cannot see you or your actions. Therefore, you should always take the time to speak clearly and slowly. A cheerful, yet professional phone manner is a very important skill that is relied on heavily during calls to journalists, which is often intimidating, particularly when asking for a favour.
Being able to work in a team is a skill that is often overlooked in today’s computer-focused world. In a call centre you soon learn that your individual efforts affect the whole team and that you need to be fully committed to mutual goals. Whilst working in digital PR you need to overcome obstacles, and this is where teamwork really comes into play. Working as part of a successful team to meet deadlines and share best practices means the results are empowering and exciting.