Agency Vs. In-House Communications

Written by: Amy Lach

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Dell’s Senior Communications Advisor and PRSA Austin Chapter President Katie Schaeffer spoke to our chapter about transitioning from agency to in-house communications. She also shared what she has learned during her experience as a public relations practitioner and advice for budding professionals.

Schaeffer recommended starting in an agency after graduating, if given the opportunity, because you learn client service skills that you can take with you to future jobs. Having agency experience escalates your career and salary down the road.

According to Schaeffer, a benefit of working in an agency is that you are given the chance to work on a variety of accounts before specializing. Whereas when working in a larger business like Dell, you learn more about the different perspectives of communications like marketing and advertising.

After her first year at Dell working on business-to-consumer accounts, Schaeffer decided to challenge herself and begin working on business-to-business communications.

“There is a lot more to Dell than just computers,” said Schaeffer. She explained that when you work on a consumer team you are shaping the company’s brand to the target audience.

“The way our world is evolving, every company is a technology company,” said Schaeffer. She explained, in order to be successful in the communications industry, you need to be innovative and proactive, constantly finding creative ways to stand out in your internship or job.

 Her take-away advice for undergraduate students is to always bring a notebook to meetings and do whatever you can to make your manager’s life easier. When you establish trust in the workplace, you will be successful.