While we love our jobs in PR lets be honest, there are annoying parts as well. Lucky for us many of them are minor and can be overlooked, but here are a few of the most annoying aspects of PR. Fellow PR girls, I think you’ll agree.
Waiting hours, days, weeks for materials to be reviewed.
Monitoring. And monitoring some more.
Always being the middleman.
Billing your time for the week. Because it’s near impossible to even remember what you had for breakfast.
Reading through hundreds of unread emails.
Flipping through a magazine and not finding the placement you thought you had.
Never hearing back from an editor.
Planning your event to a T only to have weather kill it.
Everyone has off on minor holidays and you don’t.
Realizing you’re still checking and responding to emails at 11:30pm.
What do you think are the most annoying aspects of PR?
I’m admittedly a little grumpy these days, since spring has come and I’m still wearing wool coats outside. It’s gotten to that point in New York where “cabin fever” doesn’t even cover the frustration that everyone is feeling. The thought of going out and being social just sounds like work in comparison to crashing on the couch and watching Miss Congeniality on TBS again.
As hard as it is, we can’t let the dragging winter season get our New York spirits down. Here are a few ways that you can switch it up and get out of the house before the weather finally warms up:
Take your social calendar online: Between match.com, meetup.com, grouper, and howaboutwe.com, there are plenty of ways to meet new people in the city. If you’re not ready to jump head first into online dating, Meetup and Grouper will let you bring along a couple of friends and get your feet wet
Commit to an athletic event outside your comfort zone: A couple weeks ago I decided I was going to get out of my gym and sign up for a half marathon… with just four weeks to train. I’m a runner already, but I’ve always wanted to run a race and a half marathon seemed like an awesome place to start. Training for the race is definitely taking time and dedication, but having something to focus on that is helping me stay healthy and get outside has made the weeks a little nicer
Plan a pub crawl/food tour: Is there an area of the city you’ve wanted to explore? Do you want to try all the dessert joints on Eater or Belgian beer bars in the city? Grab a few friends and challenge yourselves to hit them up over the next month, or get them all done in a weekend
Live out your Spotify playlist: If you’ve found some small bands or fun music through Spotify or Pandora that you love, why not look for live shows with similar artists around the city
Some of the most stressful times in a PR girl or guy’s career is the time before the company review. Superiors are usually polled or asked about your performance in the workplace, and you have an hour long discussion about your work at the company and what you can do to improve. If it’s a good conversation, you could be near tears with joy and a nice bonus to boot. If it’s a bad one, you can be near tears with disappointment and a laundry list of items to work on in the coming months.
My advice? Try to avoid any surprises. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned PR vet, it’s always good to take some time to internally reflect and ask some close colleagues about your performance. The hardest part here – be honest with yourself! Though you might not want to admit there are any issues that need to be worked on, it’s better to call it out yourself and work on a solution than find out it’s a huge problem from your superior at your formal review.
Here are a couple ways you can prepare for a formal company review with an internal review on your own:
Make a MASTER LIST of your responsibilities and goals for growth – I love to write everything down, and it helps me clear my head. Write down a master list of all the responsibilities in your role, and how you’ve grown within each and potential areas to work on
Talk it out – Meeting with any managers or teammates to talk out any underlying issues or big projects you’ve worked on. You could have one perception of how an event went down, but a teammate can have a completely different idea of the workload. Definitely be sure to listen, and don’t get defensive. Be open to criticism and feedback
Be proactive – If there are issues, make a plan to solve them with the help of our team. If there are strong successes, take key learnings and see how you can apply them to other areas of your work. Look at everything as an opportunity to succeed at your job. Everyone needs to trip up a bit before they steady their feet. Put a smile on, and look towards the future!
I’m a recent graduate who aspires to work in luxury fashion public relations. I’ve completed a number of PR and digital communications internships with local boutiques and one major luxury brand while in school. I’ve been sending out my résumé and applying for entry-level positions, but to no response. Should I be applying for internships? Working for free while living in New York wouldn’t be an ideal situation but, at this point, it seems like the only way.
This is a great question and one we receive frequently. We know how EXTREMELY frustrating it can be to graduate with plenty of internships under your belt only to learn that you’re going to have to intern AGAIN. While there’s the downside of not having a set job and possibly not even pay, interning after you graduate is actually a blessing in disguise.
To answer your question, yes, you’re most likely going to have to start applying for internships. However, look for the following while interviewing:
An internship that’s paid. They exist and it’s worth the hunt.
An internship that can lead to a full-time job. Don’t be afraid to ask this question during the interview. It’s important to know whether or not a company is determined to hire its interns.
An internship that will give you new experiences. Another aspect you can determine from the job posting and interview.
An internship you’re truly interested in. Don’t settle for one that you can’t see yourself enjoying. You can be a bit picky considering you already have experience under your belt.
The blessing in disguise? It’s just an internship. If you start interning for a company and hate it, the internship will be over shortly and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what you’re looking for in your next job.
All in all, stay positive! You have plenty of time to land the job of your dreams.
Coming off of an extremely busy Thursday for both M and I, needless to say, we’re thrilled it’s Friday. As part of our Fashion Friday series from the webinar we hosted with Critical Mention (take a listen if you haven’t already), this week we’re touching on how to dress for client dinners. A client coming to town happens ever so often and while you might be wrapped up in figuring out every other little detail of their arrival, don’t forget about dressing yourself appropriately for a night out.
Dressing for a client dinner can be tricky because it usually means you have a client pitch or meeting beforehand so it’s another version of a day to night look. Client dinners are typically at fancy restaurants so be sure to keep that in mind. You want to avoid a lot of layers so your clothes don’t wrinkle. A work appropriate dress or a pencil skirt and blouse that can easily be dressed up for a dinner is transitional and ideal.
You’ll also most likely bring along a larger bag to keep materials from the meeting before and heels to change into if you’re wearing flats. Stay a little bit on the corporate side with heels that are appropriate for a fancy dinner but also fun. In the winter, make sure you have a dressier coat than your North Face for the coat check.
Mistakes happen in the PR world… all the time. With so many cooks in the kitchen, – between team members, clients, vendors, consumers, interns – there are a lot of people to keep track of and jobs to get done. Of course, it is our job to keep on top of everything and stay organized (making PR girls some of the biggest control freaks and type-A’s you’ll ever meet), but sometimes something falls through the cracks. Slipping up at work is probably one of the worst feelings, and it may be your natural reaction to try to solve the issue as quickly as possible or blame other circumstances instead of owning up to the mistake and apologizing. Saying you’re sorry is hard to do when you’d like to think you have it all together, like the PR girl does. But if you handle the situation correctly, these mistakes can turn into great opportunities for growth and a chance to show your superiors how you handle crazy pressure. Here are a few tips:
You dropped the ball. Now what?
First, breathe – Personally, when something bad happens my first reaction is to swear under my breath. It’s a nasty sailor habit. Other people scream. Other people cry. When you’re at the office though, try to keep these natural reactions to a minimum. It is not worth making your team anxious and the situation more dramatic. If you are feeling incredibly frustrated, and need to yell, scream or cry… go outside.
Don’t start pointing fingers – Since we deal with so many third parties as PR people, it would be easy to blame vendors, event designers, interns or clients for problems. Unless it is BLATANTLY obvious that another party dropped the ball, do not call out another party for the problem. It doesn’t find a solution any quicker, and frankly people do not want to work with a whistleblower.
Don’t move too quickly – You may want to jump the gun and try to solve the problem before you even think it through, hoping you can make up for your mistake before too much harm is done. Sometimes this leads to even more worries. Best thing to do is take time to think through a solution, let a team member know what’s up, and be sure you can feasible move forward to solve the problem.
Apologize – If the issue is your fault or result of something you were working on, it’s best to own up to it right away. Apologizing with grace and offering a solution to fix the problem at hand is the best way to come clean in the PR world. Taking ownership is mature, responsible and proactive – who wouldn’t want that girl on their team?
A frequent PR perk we talk about is getting the opportunity to travel. I’m currently in Nashville, TN – a city I’ve always wanted to visit but never had the chance. While traveling for work, there are a few preparations I make before every trip.
Send a note to your teammates. Make sure everyone in the office knows you’ll be traveling.
Bring your own laptop. Though I have my work computer with me, I also bring along my Macbook. I find it easier to use plus it keeps me entertained during lonely nights in my hotel room (aka Pinterest).
Make sure you have access to every document you need. This is something I always prepare for. I make sure to save every document I might need on my desktop so it’s easily accessible. Otherwise you can go through torment trying to find something you need in your email.
Be prepared to not have Wifi access. It can be hard to check ahead of time whether or not the plane you board has Wifi. If you need to do work on the plane, this is when having access to every document you need comes in handy.
Pack lightly. Try not to check a bag. If a trip is only one night, I always pack a carry-on. If it’s two or more nights, I consider checking a bag, but first I think about whether or not it could be worth losing. This is one of my biggest fears!
Check the weather ahead of time. While it was 30 degrees and snowing when I left New York, it’s around 50 degrees and rainy in Nashville. Plan for the weather change. Also a must pack – an umbrella.
Layer, layer and layer. We’ve said this before, but it really is important. You never know if the plane is going to be hot or cold or if the weather upon your return to New York will be below zero. Be prepared.
Wear comfortable shoes . This is when my TOMS come in handy. Shoes that I can take off easily for security and in-flight are a must.
Research a few must-see sights. While you can’t always explore the city, research the touristy places and take any free moment you can to see them. You never know if you’ll ever return!
Now is the time M and I typically start interviewing summer interns or soon-to-be college grads. Time and time again we interview three to four potential new hires in one day. That’s a lot of interviews! So how do you stand out? Take the following into consideration as you go into your next interview.
Be prepared. We say this all the time, but it really is that important. You’d be shocked how many people come into an interview not knowing a thing about the company. Read case studies, learn about the agency’s clients. Bring those examples to your interview and answer the question as to why you’re interested in working at the company without even being asked.
Wear a statement piece. A nice necklace, a colorful blouse. Don’t go overboard, but this will make you memorable in conversation the interviewer has with his/her colleagues. It’s often hard to remember everyone’s name when you have back to back interviews. “What did you think of X?” “Oh the one in the mint blouse?”.
Make a great first impression. Show your enthusiasm and have a nice firm handshake. Show that you want to be there and are ready for this interview. You can pretty much tell from a first impression whether or not the person is excited about the position. If you’re not enthusiastic, you come off as uninterested.
Make your elevator pitch interesting. That famous “tell me about yourself” question is sure to be asked within the first minute of an interview. Show your personality and don’t be boring. If you had to sell yourself in 30 seconds would you simply say “I’m attending X school majoring in X.” Well, I can read that from your resume. What else?
Take control. I know it sounds odd, but there are so many times I go into an interview and the interviewee just sits there, waiting for me to ask every question. The ones that stand out take initiative to keep the conversation flowing. Don’t be afraid to do so.
Tell a story. With each question, where appropriate, add in a story of your experience within your answer. This will keep the interview from dying out and can spark other questions for the interviewer. It will also make you more memorable in the interviewers mind. You can think of these stories ahead of time.
Don’t cut it short. We know you’re nervous and want the interview to end ASAP. If the interview starts dying down, engage in more topics of conversation, even if you’ve already asked these questions to other interviewers at the same company. Your interviewer doesn’t know that you already asked these questions and you might get a completely different answer. When an interview only lasts 10 minutes and it should be 30, you need to ask more questions. Otherwise you’ll easily be forgotten.
What are some other ways to stand out in an interview?
Continuing our Fashion Friday PR Style series from our webinar, I wanted to touch on one of the more popular circumstances a PR girl comes across: the day to date night look. On its own, styling for date night can be hard enough. You want to look sophisticated and a little sexy, but nothing too over the top. You also want to be sure to show off your personality. So how are you to mix all these elements into a look appropriate for the office?
If you like dresses, like A and I do, then well-fitted dresses are your best friends for days you have a hot date planned. Be sure nothing is too baring and certainly watch the length, but a feminine dress that shows off your figure is a great place to start. If you’re more of a jeans-and-a-top type of girl, you’re going to want to stock your closet with at least two classic blazers. Even if you’re wearing a silk top and some skinnies, a black or navy blazer will make the outfit appropriate for work. Also keep the shoe heel height down for day… either with wedges or flats depending on the outfit. Break out your hot stilettos and bling-y jewelry before the actual date.
Makeup is an easy way to change up the look pre-date as well. Add a bold lipstick and an extra swipe of mascara and eyeliner and you’re all set!
How do you get ready for date night at the office?
Our good friend Nichole of Vanilla Extract recently started a project we’re thrilled to be a part of. Read from Nichole about why she started this venture and how to get involved. We’d love for you to help in kickstarting the project and appreciate any social shares and donations.
When I quit my job in Corporate America last year to start Blinc, there were a few fleeting moments of, “Wait, what am I doing?” A move to San Francisco and a year later, I’m so thankful I said adios to what I used to call “my cubicle of doom.” During my journey of entrepreneurship, I have been inspired by ambitious women like Adrianna and Meg to keep building. Growing. Writing. And tweeting.
When you pursue your dreams, amazing things happen. Opportunities you never thought existed suddenly find their way into your inbox. Before long, you find yourself calling the shots and making the deadlines. And all throughout the process you end up meeting the most amazing people that often turn into friends.
To me, entrepreneurship is about creating something from nothing. I want to celebrate the creators of the world, and I’m doing it in the form of Toasted. It’s my chance to highlight everyday female entrepreneurs from all over the world and to inspire those who need that extra push to start their own ventures.
To get things started, I’m using Kickstarter to develop a fun, coffee table book which pairs 25 ambitious female entrepreneurs with 25 tasty cocktail recipes inspired by each girl.
After the book, you’ll meet new entrepreneurs on the Toasted website every week. Maybe one of them will even be you.
I’d love your support in making Toasted come to life so that we can continue to inspire other women to start creating. You can follow along on Twitter or pledge whatever you can to the Kickstarter campaign.