In my first six months at theMIX agency, I’ve grown my experience in everything I could get my hands on: Event organization, executive speaking programs, business planning, content marketing, thought leadership brainstorming, product launch strategy, media pitching, and so many other tasks. This is my first full-time job in tech communications, and with so many new grads joining the industry this Summer, I want to highlight some key lessons I’ve learned that I’m certain will prove invaluable for my career progression. If you’re also hoping to work in marketing and communications in the technology/startup world, they’ll probably help you too:

Don’t Let Youth & Inexperience Silence You: Research, Learn, Speak Up

I graduated from college two years ago, and I’m the youngest member of the tMa team. At first, being the most inexperienced member of the team felt a little intimidating. I was cautious and quiet at work. Very quickly, I realized I had to prove myself. That meant doing a lot of research and reading up on technology, but more on that later. Even without a long background in the industry, however, I realized it’s still important to speak up about an app or website related to a client, especially if you’ve had first hand experience with it. Many products in tech are targeted at young consumers, so your youthful perspective is often an advantage—when something looks off, speak up! You may catch something your more experienced colleagues may miss.

Learn to Conduct Research

Research has been key to the success I’ve had at tMa. I start my mornings perusing the Internet for relevant tech news for each of our clients (check out my earlier post on searching in Google here) and can honestly say it’s made my work life so much easier. I’ve even suggested it to other friends who work in different industries and are just starting new jobs, and it has done wonders for them as well. It will build up your confidence level when talking about a client or project, and often brings out useful new knowledge for them too.

Build Genuine Relationships

Just as important to get right in tech communications: Relationships. I am always impressed by how many people our CEO Vanessa Camones has built relationships with over her long career, as a genuine friend. And that right there is the key: No one likes feeling used or taken advantage of, especially in the professional world. Go to as many events as you can, remember your business cards, perfect your handshake and smile—but always be real.

In Tech Communications, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

When it came time to apply for jobs, I saw a trend among emerging among my peers-- they were flocking towards large global agencies and competing for a dwindling number of positions. I was there too, certain that I would beat them out-- until I decided my path needed to be different. While the global agency route may be right for some PR graduates, don’t be discouraged if it’s not the path you find yourself on. You can make just as big a splash, if not a bigger one, at a smaller agency where you are more than just a number. Like I said before, at theMIX I’ve been able to grow my experience in everything I could get my hands on, and I can’t imagine that being possible at a larger agency. On the other hand, if you know that you’re the type of person who needs extensive training periods and thrives in a more corporate environment, fight for those spots, prove that you’re worth it.

Going back to research for one last point: Before you accept a new job, research any company that makes you an offer thoroughly—present and past employees and clients, office culture, etc. are extremely important. Large or small, you want to work at a place that encourages you to grow, learn, and foster the relationships you need for a long-term career. Trust me on this one: I speak from experience.