Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog and to Dr. Russell for giving us the assignment. I found blogging incredibly difficult when I first began, but have actually come to like it! I hope someone can benefit from my little insights into breaking into Atlanta PR. Who knows, maybe I'll keep it up!

Agency v. Corporate PR

I have known for a while that I wanted to start my career in an agency PR setting. Besides being highly recommended by almost EVERY practicing PR professional out there, I find agency life and having a variety of clients very appealing. I did the non-profit thing, I worked in a corporation, and now I want to move on and find my niche.

As I consider this transition, I become even more satisfied with my choice to start out with an internship. I know some of my skills need some real-world brushing up, but I know the basics and I know them well. Coming from a corporate background however, I do not have any experience billing my time, managing multiple clients and being accountable to multiple people, i.e. other than just my boss.

I really liked the ideas posted on the PR Girlz blog on how she learned to manage her time in the agency setting. In my crazy busy last semester I began making notes as the blog suggests. I make a column for each class, work, Creative Consultants, Campaigns (because this needed its own column), my job search and any errands I need to complete- say the laundry that's been piling on my closet floor. These lists kept me sane through March and April when I was probably busier than I had ever been in my life. It's good to know that I can apply my fabulous list-making skills this summer too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What should I know?

I am very excited to begin my internship, both as a way to get my foot in the door at a great agency and also as a way to round out the PR experience I have gained in school. When it came to the option of going straight into a full-time position vs. an internship position I began to wonder, am I ready? After going on several interviews it was apparent to me that I was lacking in media relations skills. I think that all PR graduates from Grady would greatly benefit from a class related to media relations.

I found this blog on the Growth Path of a PR Professional very interesting. The blog lists out the order in which a budding PR professional should master specific skills. I think the list is very relevant to employers expectations. After looking over the list, I feel very comfortable with tasks 1-4 which involved studying the media, understanding clients' needs, basic reporting documentations and PR writing. Step 5 is, of course, media relations. It will be interesting to check back in on this list as my career progresses to see if I am following the path they have laid out.

Monday, April 30, 2007


Although I am just beginning my PR career, I have already begun thinking about continuing my education with an MBA or earning an APR in the future. A group of specialists discussed the benefits of the two options in a seminar I attended at RealWorld.

I definitely think that an MBA is very beneficial when working in a corporate PR setting. When I interned with NCR Corporation it was made very clear to me that an MBA was the way to go in order to advance your career there. They were however, more focused on the business-centric marketing aspect of communications. I wonder how relevant the MBA is in an agency setting. And since I am not sure where my career path will lead me, is it a good idea for me to pursue an MBA in the future?

An APR is an accreditation in public relations, but due to the fact that it is voluntary and not well-known outside of the PR field, its importance is debated. I had never heard of an APR after a full year in the Grady College. My first exposure to the term came from my communications professor, Dr. Sweetster who is an APR. I think that an accreditation is PR is important, but until it becomes mandatory or recognized as a distinction, I am not sure how beneficial it will be to my advancement it the field. PR Maven Julie Rusciolelli discusses the APR in her blog from the viewpoint of a PR firm president.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Making the Transition

Three weeks away from my first day working in a PR agency, I am trying to prepare myself for the transition. As my ultimate goal is to land a job with the agency, assuming I only love the firm more after working there, I am very concerned with making a great impression and making them realize they have to have me permanently. One of my concerns at this point is getting the clothes I need to look the part. Despite working in an office as an intern last summer, the atmosphere was much more relaxed at NCR and my wardrobe is seriously lacking.

I found these internship success tips from the graduating class of an MBA program very helpful. I think it is very important to assimilate into the culture of the agency. One great tip I heard at RealWorld PRSSA is to pay attention to the lunch time routine at the agency. For example, if everyone goes out together or brings a lunch and hangs out in the break room then join in! Lunch is a great, relaxed way to get to know everyone and to give them an opportunity to learn a little more about you.

Another point that has been reiterated by many professionals I have spoken with is the ability to "manage-up." In other words, make your boss look good. Always be one step ahead of the game. Be supportive, but give your opinion respectfully as well. Any thoughts on managing up in the workplace?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Finding Job Openings

Here at UGA we have a great resource for part-time and on-campus jobs called DawgTrak. Finding an agency PR job was a totally different story. As I have mentioned, I found out about most of the positions I applied for through the connections I made at PRSA RealWorld. I also found it very helpful to visit the Web sites of the agencies I was particularly interested in. It is by no means an efficient way of finding open positions, but almost every site had contact information for an internship position

Also, I joined the UGA PRSSA this year which I found very helpful. PRSSA often finds out about internship opportunities that are not posted anywhere else. I also found the PRSA Georgia Internship Directory to be helpful and even got an interview for a full-time position based on their job listings.

Those of us who are just now entering the PR world are very lucky because the industry is booming! I found it very difficult to find an internship last year at this time, but the opportunities seemed to fall into my lap this year. The blog Forward has some great links to job posting sites and career advice for PR newbies.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Passionate about PR

One thing I have discovered after all of my interviews is that PR firms are looking for employees who have what they call "passion." I love PR, I love the work, the people, the way the job changes everyday based on the varying needs of the client, but am I passionate about the job?

Honestly, I think passion is a strong word to use for college graduates. I truly enjoy public relations, but am still undecided on exactly which area of PR I will find the most enjoyable, such as healthcare, technology, consumer or hospitality clients. This is one of the reasons I am starting my career in an agency where I can work with numerous businesses of any type. I want to find my passion.

When I do get into the field, I want to work for clients whose products and mission I believe in so that I can be passionate about my work and about representing the company. In his blog, Kevin Dugan links to an article I found very interesting because it talks about how passion is necessary to be great in PR, because passion is what sells your ideas to journalists.