As is the case with most anything professional, there are some careers which don’t mesh nicely with their hopeful candidates. Take the following, for example: I spend far too much time watching sports. Seriously, you’d think that 25 years of life, if anything, would’ve taught me that SportsCenter—no matter how shocking the reports or dumbfounding the highlights—needn’t be watched two or three times in a day. Not to mention that, as a 5-foot-10-inch string bean with a flimsy 150-pound frame, it’s unlikely that the NFL comes calling anytime soon to help me realize my dream of becoming a professional athlete.
In a similar fashion, a deep love for red soles doesn’t necessarily mean a communications position with Louboutin should automatically be your goal. The PR industry simply isn’t for everyone. Having worked in the field for a few years now, I’ve seen concourses of eager PR graduates try their hand at our ever-changing area of expertise only to opt out in the end.
Are you concerned about whether or not a life of endless deadlines, strategic media pitching and interpersonal communication is for you? If so, give the following points a gander to see if you match up nicely with all that a formal career in PR has to offer:
You’ve got a few unrealistic expectations
First thing’s first: do you know what PR actually is? Be honest with yourself. To this day, I’m stunned at the number of recent graduates who haven’t the foggiest idea as to what they’ve supposedly signed up to do for the rest of their lives.
Moreover, the stereotype persists that the field offers an inside track o rub shoulders with the rich and famous at cocktail parties. While that’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility, there is a big difference between producing an event and attending it. These days, core PR skills that come before the glitz and glamor include pitching, networking, content production, social media management, SEO writing, even graphic and web design. Initially, be prepared to spend more time stuffing gift bags than strutting your stuff.
Your skin is paper thin
Rejection is a massive part of the PR game. From difficult reporters and clients to cumbersome bosses and coworkers, there might be some harsh comments and expletives being tossed around, from time to time. Sadly, more than a few of them will probably be directed at you.
From difficult reporters and clients to cumbersome bosses and coworkers, there might be some harsh comments and expletives being tossed around, from time to time.
Incredible pitches get picked apart, those outside of the industry poke fun at your work, calling it “spin,” and your boss—especially during those fun entry-level years—will place the burden of securing media coverage squarely on your shoulders. If this sort of negativity and stress causes the world to end, it’d be best to seek gainful employment where the emotional stakes aren’t quite so high.
Organization isn’t one of your strong suits
The routine tasks that PR experts encounter on a daily basis are many. Because of this, organization is key. In fact, says Mickie Kennedy, CEO and founder of eReleases, “If you can’t handle five things at once, PR might not be for you. You need to be able to pitch the media, manage your clients, formulate PR strategies, pitch prospective clients, coordinate media opportunities, handle crisis-control initiatives and much more on a daily basis.”
Depending on the agency or firm at which you work, you could potentially be juggling the PR affairs of three or four different accounts. Making certain that no task goes unnoticed while anticipating future responsibilities and dealing with improptu distractions, deadlines while shifting your focus back and forth can be daunting, to say the least.
Writing isn’t a passion of yours
This should be obvious: if you can’t write, your relationship with PR won’t be a lengthy one. Furthermore, if you’re not passionate about writing, things probably aren’t going to work out. Listen, I openly recognize that I’m no Charles Dickens, but I always do my best to produce written content that’s not only clear and concise, but both enjoyable and relatable. Regardless of how long you’ve been in PR, each and every day will be filled with some sort of writing project.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in PR, each and every day will be filled with some sort of writing project.
So, with all of the aforementioned in mind, how well would you and a career in PR get along? Whatever your current situation may be, rest assured that, though difficult, a career in PR is most certainly exciting and rewarding.
Image via School of Style