From the Inbox: First Year Blues

Hi A & M –

Fellow NYC PR gal here! Hoping to pick your brains for some advice on navigating my first year out of school and in the industry full-time. First off, love your blog and thank you for being so instrumental in being a pillar of advice for all of us trying to navigate the never calm waters of PR.

So, where to start? I graduated in May and after having seven various PR/corp comm internships, both in-house and agency, I landed a job a pretty large firm. I was so excited, but now that I’ve been here a few months, I’m realizing that for as much as I know PR is what I want to do with the rest of my career – I, at the same time, have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my career.

I think the beauty of PR is you can take it and apply it to every industry across the board, from fashion to finance to food to travel. Problem is, I have no idea what industry I’m passionate about applying my love of PR to. I’ve had internship experiences that touched broadcast, sports, finance, food, travel, consumer products, healthcare – you name it. But none of them hit that note that made me say, “this is what I want to do.”

Now, I’m fighting the urge to say I am miserable every day. I really don’t like the clients I am working on, and though I know no job has to be forever, I really don’t even know what my next should be…and I want to be happy and most certainly don’t want to settle.

Any help/advice would be SO appreciated – thank you for taking the time to read this! Xo

Really appreciate your honesty. It sounds like you’ve had an array of experience. I have to say – I related to you when I first started my career. I was working on clients I really wasn’t interested in and wasn’t sure if I made the right decision. Reality is, no matter who your clients are, PR is PR. The experiences you’re having now with clients you don’t fancy will help you when you finally start working on clients your passionate about. It would be irrational to think that you would graduate college and land your dream job with the perfect clients. There were days when I hated what I was doing. Overtime I started to love it. You have to make the most of every situation.

My advice would be to keep up with what you’re doing. Think about what your personal passions are – do you read fashion blogs? Watch beauty videos in your spare time? Like indie films? Determine what your personal passion is and down the road search for the perfect opportunity that fits your passion. You will have all the PR experience you need under your belt and everything will come together once you’re working on clients that relate to your passions at an agency you adore. If you find six months from now you’re still miserable, maybe you’ll realize PR isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your career. Consider shifting into marketing or maybe digital. You’re fresh out of college and have plenty of time to determine what career path is for you.

Hope this helps – and keep up the great work thus far!

Xo, Adrianna

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Getting Nostalgic

The past few months have been a bit crazy for me, but it’s all coming around now. I think the fall always has a way of settling things into place before the bustling holidays come around. This time of year always gets me super nostalgic for my grade school years. Whenever you’re feeling completely crazed by college or adult life, sometimes it’s best to just act like a kid. Here are a few ways you can shake it all off and get nostalgic.

  • Have a solo dance party with your favorite 90’s or early 00’s hits. Feel free to sing out as loud as you want
  • Gather your friends up for a game of soccer or frisbee, or event better – tag, in the park
  • Put on your old delia*s PJ sets a Netflix marathon of an old favorite TV show with microwave popcorn and Twizzlers
  • Remake one of your mom’s specialties for dinner
  • Change your laptop wallpaper to your favorite boy band for just one day (or more)
  • Start a LiveJournal (the first blog!)
  • Call up old friends and catch up, or write an email (super old school)

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The Six Traits of a Bad Pitch

While pitching is the bread and butter of our job, there are many times we see pitches sent out that are just bad. Before sending a pitch, make sure to check yourself before your wreck yourself. Seriously. Here are some characteristics of a bad pitch.

Check Yourself

  1. Boring subject line. The subject line often determines whether or not your pitch is even opened. Think about what would capture your attention.
  2. Not customized. We’ve said this time and time again, but every pitch you send should be personalized. If your pitch starts with “hi there” and no name, reconsider sending.
  3. Too long. You should never send an essay. Two-three paragraphs MAX.
  4. Grammatical errors. They happen, but they shouldn’t. Proofread EVERYTHING.
  5. Off topic. Whether it’s bad timing or something the reporter would never cover, this is where research comes in handy.
  6. Too pushy. Asking for too many favors without giving the reporter something substantial will harm any relationship.

 

What are some other characteristics of a bad pitch?

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Asking for Help Does Not Mean Admitting Defeat

Now that I’m in my late 20’s, I’ve had multiple experiences that have taught and retaught me the above statement – much more than I can remember. Whether it’s with work, your personal life, or when you need someone to help you carry your 45 lb suitcase down 5 flights of stairs, asking for help is more than a good idea – it’s necessary. We are led to believe that we can be fearless, strong and independent in this world, and that is certainly true. But those who are smart aren’t afraid to ask for help along the way.

I’ve found that when I don’t ask for help when I really do need it, I feel like I’m flayling around without any sense of where or when I can stop. I’m taking guesses rather than making informed decisions. I’m relying on my emotions (or perhaps my exhaustion level) rather than my experience or know-how.

Here are a few hints you should be asking for help when you’re just not sure…

You’re about to make an assumption - No need to assume anything. Whether you ASSUME someone doesn’t like you, or you ASSUME something is due by end of week… just ask the right person who would actually know. No harm in it.

You’ve tried your first instinct reaction and it didn’t work – You gave it your best shot. Before you waste anymore time on the issue, explain to someone what you tried to accomplish, and ask if they have another opinion on the matter.

There are others involved and you  need to be right the first time – This is especially true in work. If there is a big group project and others are depending on you, this is NOT the time to be a hero and try to accomplish it all alone. Lean on others who have been there before or team mates who can help

 

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