You Know You’re Meant To Be in PR When…

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten

Telling stories is at the crux of what I do for a living. Without that passion, my communications would fall flat, and my public relations career wouldn't have the spark that lights the fires of my motivation. Now, after 16 years of professional writing experience and almost 10 years in the specific PR realm, I'm narrowing down some key characteristics that typically identity PR pros from other industries.

If you’re considering a career in public relations or are questioning your decision way back when to enter the PR field, here are 10 ways you know you belong in the world of RPIE, ROI and storytelling:

You crave information.

Whether you read the headlines on a gossip rag in the grocery store checkout line or check out the latest industry trends, you have a desire for information. That means news in every capacity: television, newspaper, radio, online and more. You know where to get news and how to get your messages to intended audiences. When you’re in the public relations field, being as curious as possible will aid you as you search for different strategies and tactics. Plus, you never know when you’ll find a new resource that will make you even better at your job.

You have strong communication skills to help you tell stories.

When I was in middle school, my Language Arts teacher, Theo Tippett, had this saying on her wall, “Writers are readers and readers are writers.” That quote has served me well throughout my professional writing and subsequent public relations career. Your communications skills will thrive if you read and write. Public relations is writing intensive, and if you don’t love it, then PR could be more challenging. The PR field also involves honing your speaking skills for meetings, presentations, speeches, news conferences and live and pre-recorded interviews. The more you do these tasks, the better you will be at them.

You drink multiple cups of coffee per day.

Truth be told, you can drink coffee and be in any profession. PR pros, however, keep weird hours at times. Being on call during the 24/7 newscycle could have you reaching for your cup of joe early in the morning or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. All of us have our vices, and coffee is a main one for PR pros. Learn more about yourself by your coffee of choice.

You have a creative streak.

If you’re a sucker for color psychology or can put together a mean poster for an event, being creative is the name of the PR game. You have your own brand of creativity and bring it to the table in brainstorming sessions, one-on-one conversations and daily tasks.

You learn something new every day.

If you’re a college student just getting your feet wet in the PR world or have been practicing for more than 30 years, there’s always something new to learn. If you love learning (in both traditional and nontraditional ways), make it a point to add to your skills arsenal. Join a local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chapter, read PR Daily articles, talk with fellow practitioners, take in-person and online courses, attend conferences… the possibilities are endless if you’re willing to learn. Learning is especially important in today’s world, where new technology arises every day.

You’re introspective.

Being introspective means that you’re honest with yourself. This trait allows you to be up front with your organizations, colleagues, clients and all other publics around you. If you can focus on key issues within your own mind, then you will be ready to handle PR crises, general campaigns and more with a more objective slant.

You’re dependable.

If people come to you for advice and for help on all kinds of matters, that means you’re dependable. They see you as a voice of reason -- a conscience that helps guide them in their own decision making. Being dependable aids you in a PR career, too. You’re more prone to be on time for work and meetings. If a media representative needs a photo before press time or a sound bite before the 6 p.m. news, you accommodate that request. That establishes your reputation as a go-to PR gal or guy.

You build relationships that matter.

Building relationships is crucial within the public relations profession. You begin to build relationships upon birth and continue to grow your network over time. Whether you’re a natural introvert or extrovert, you can create and maintain a network that will aid you in your endeavors: on LinkedIn, in person, with your local Chamber of Commerce and more. You never know when that person you met seven years ago gets a new position and can aid you with spreading the word about your latest campaign.

You get told “no”... but so what?

Being resilient is a coveted trait. You’re going to hear “no” a lot: in meetings, after you submit that amazing proposal that gets rejected, when you try to get a sponsorship for a pro-bono nonprofit project. The important thing to remember is that with every no comes the voracity to keep going. You will hear “yes” eventually.

You’re a natural leader.

You get things done with your ambition and to-do lists. People flock to you because you seem to have everything all together (even when you don’t). You are able to teach people the tricks of the trade with comfort and ease. You want to see the next generation achieve their potential while also growing yourself as a leader.

No matter which characteristics you may or may not have, make your career your own. It's more fun that way!

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Media, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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