1. Set Boundaries.
As I get older, I am less interested in working contracts that pay very little in something that I’m not even interested in. These type of contracts take more time than it’s worth, so weed out the ones that do and focus on the ones that you enjoy. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’ll reflect in your work.
2. Figure Out What You Love.
This might be a tad bit of a back pedal on the first point, but if you’re starting out in the industry – you might want to try a couple things to see what most interests you. I consider myself an introvert so I would think writing press releases and speeches would most likely be my specialty. But would you believe it’s actually media relations and following up with media that I love the most? While I’m an introvert and would probably be terrified in front of a gathering of people, I value and enjoy getting to know media on a one-on-one basis. I would have never thought that it would be enjoyable until I tried it out.
3. Find Your Niche.
You may start off as a generalist but in time, you’ll find something that interests you and you have a knack for. This could be a topic – Fashion, Film/Entertainment, Food..or it could be a specific role like social media, analytics, event planning. It seems that I always end up back in my niche of Entertainment because of my varying experience in it.
4. Take Advice with a Grain of Salt.
I’ve been told numerous times that I should do analytics, stay in the background and do research. I think it’s because I probably come off as a quiet person (who is slightly obsessive compulsive). While I appreciate the advice, I like taking risks and learning new things. So yes, I’ll do a lot of research and paper work but if a situation comes along where I could gain more experience from it, I’ll take it!
5. Keep Learning.
Don’t stop learning. This is the most essential part of being a PR and a human being. Stay curious and learn to broaden your skills. Some archaic PR professionals will tell you that social media is not the future (I know I have been told this numerous times) – but it didn’t stop me from learning. I’ve self taught myself Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and InDesign. I also like to dabble in filming so I have some decent videography and photography skills. It has become invaluable on the job. Read as much as you can and learn as much as you can.
Finally…I know having 6 items is not as attractive as five, so let’s call this a bonus tip.
JUST SAY YES.
For you Ex-Starbucks Baristas, you know this saying. It’s been drilled in your head a million and five times. To just say yes to your customers, even if they’re being spoiled little princesses that need their lattes 135 degrees – not 130, not 140 but 135.
I spent the last year saying YES to every single opportunity that was thrown my way. Some things scared the poop out of me but I said yes to anyway. I taught businesses how to use social media, I spoke in front of an audience and I even planned a super high profile event. These are just a couple of the items that I was asked to do and without hesitation said yes to. These three were also the most scariest of things I did in the past year. That being said, saying yes to things I would normally say “hell no!” to has opened up so many doors and has helped me become a better person. I am definitely not a public speaker, but to throw me on last minute was exhilarating, overwhelming and frightening. I enjoyed every moment of it. I encourage everyone to try it out!