Three common misconceptions about a public relations career
So you think you can flack? You probably can. Before you jump in–and if you want to do it well–you’ll need to keep these truths in mind:
1. The PR profession about more than just being a “people person”–it’s great that you love people. I love people. But that will only take you so far, as in, through your internship. After that, you’ll also need to be “a good writer” and “a good listener.” You’ll also need to demonstrate a strategic mind and an appetite for winning. A love of people is great, but it does not a PR superstar make.
2. PR is not a 9 to 5 gig–I don’t know who puts the idea into folks’ heads that public relations is a glamorous profession. The most effective flacks I know work long hours and spend at least a portion of their weekends trolling the Internet for news and opinion pieces, social media trends and client opportunities. Not to mention all the non-billable hours spent defending new/fabulous/sort-of-scary/innovative ideas. You know those communicators that you are always looking at and thinking “how they heck did he think of that?” I guarantee you he’s either A) extremely experienced and or B) lives and breathes his work. Hey, I never said it was a healthy lifestyle, just an effective one.
3. If you are good at your job, you’ll rarely see your own name in the paper–one of the scariest traits in a “PR person” is an obsession with seeing their name or picture in lights. Unless you are a true “spokesperson” for a person or organization, being a PR pro will rarely afford you a print mention. And you’ll likely never be on TV. If this makes you sad, you need to find another gig or some freelance work.
Fellow flacks, have I left out your favorite PR career pet-peeves? Share them in the comments!
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