“What exactly do you DO?” It’s a question us PR folk hear frequently, most often from parents, acquaintances, and high school friends, (siblings stopped asking moons ago), those who aren’t in our professional circles and are several industries removed from those that consume me daily. Some of my favorite people in the world are as far away from my profession as you can imagine — they plant and sell trees, design and sell jewelry, build houses from dirt, teach children with disabilities to read, and support women in their right to choose whatever it is they want to choose. Yummy professions that I love to talk about, yet most of those folks don’t know exactly what I do, and I love them for it.
But there’s a crop of people who need to have a firm grasp on what we do and why: those who want to work in PR. We’re growing, searching for more great people to round out the incredible team we already have here. We’ve worked with interns who have not studied communications but get it and excel immediately, and those who are graduating with “Public Relations” inked on their diplomas who don’t like to write. Curious. We’ve had senior team members give us and our clients their skills, enthusiasm and loyalty, and those who take their business relationships for granted (the proverbial match to the bridge in most books).
The process of building our team has sparked some interesting discussions here about what it takes to succeed long term in our profession, and the nuances we look for in candidates new and seasoned. We’re a protective bunch (over our clients and our team) and because my partner and I have been successful for two decades and still love what we do, we thought it right to share some of our learnings. For success in our field, we’re looking for a blend of talent, passion, integrity, respect and humor. Let’s break it down:
- Talent. Obvious, right? The skills needed for PR are different from those required in other professions, but would serve you well anywhere. You need to be an incredible multitasker, intelligent, creative, tenacious, thoughtful, organized, and calm. Yes, calm. It gets pretty harried in our line of work, and you have to keep it cool. There’s also a lot of activity in the brain every moment, and you need clarity and organization.
- Passion: You need to really care. Really. It’s not just a product we’re promoting, it’s our client partner, and our success is directly tied to their success. Their wins are our wins. Their happy customers make us happy. We absolutely HAVE to care about that. If you don’t get excited when you land a great story or hear “great idea” from your client fairly often, you’re in the wrong field. It’s simple, really.
- Integrity. We all have this, right? Well… The PR profession is famously knocked for its lack of integrity. I’ve not experienced the horrific stories reporters tell about PR pros in the two decades I’ve spent here. Have we all made mistakes? Sure. Human nature, folks. But we’re doing exceptional work to promote exceptional products, strategies and people, and it’s coming from a place of genuine integrity.
- Respect. Again, sounds obvious but boy have we seen some things here! We don’t take a single thing for granted. Companies and clients are entrusting us to do great work for them. We do it. We appreciate that they’ve given us an opportunity to help grow their businesses. They’re spending valuable resources on our brain power, we love that and we appreciate it very much. We thank them for their trust, we deliver what we say we’re going to deliver. And if this respect isn’t bi-directional, then we bid adieu, because we also respect ourselves and our teams in equal measure.
- Humor. Critical. I’m not sure what more needs to be said. You absolutely have to laugh at yourself, make light of situations, and keep it all in perspective. Life is funny all around you. Lighten up.
We’re looking for a few new talents to join our team. If you have the above chops, and enjoy collaboration and challenge, flexibility and fun, then give us a call!