619 days after graduating from Western Washington University, I walked into my first day at Weber Shandwick Seattle, and hit the ground running.
Admittedly, I started my internship with the Seattle office’s Technology Practice with minimal knowledge of the technology industry, and I knew that in order to establish myself and find my stride, I had to find the sexy in the technology industry.
So, what’s sexy anyway?
Many bright-eyed and eager PR grads tend to fall for the alleged “sexy” of the PR industry – the notion of glamorous happy hours, party planning and celebrity spokespeople. We paint this beautiful picture of what a PR career will be, but the reality of being a PR practitioner is so much more than what you see of Samantha from “Sex and the City.”
I advise the future of our industry to take a step back and ask: Why do I really want to work in public relations?
In my personal life, I’m still not one of the most tech-savvy people (aside from my unnerving attachment to my iPhone), but four months into my internship at Weber Shandwick Seattle, I can confidently say that I am passionate about my work. Product launches, tech reviews, geeky this, geeky that – THAT is what my day-to-day looks like, and I continue to love every minute of it.
During the balancing act that is agency life, I tend to visualize myself wearing the dorkiest cheerleader outfit for each of my clients. Investing in the success of a client – becoming passionate about their work – is one of the keys to rocking your own work.
…But find a balance
No one wants an overzealous partner. And even though I just confessed my mental cheerleader tendencies, it’s important to find a good balance to keep perspective on your work.
As an agency, we can be the guiding light for our clients, but ultimately, we are in client services, and they make the final decisions. Trying to maintain a middle ground will definitely soften the blow when your clients don’t buy off on your exact vision for their company.
Get into it. Figure out what your client is all about. Analyze the state of the specific industry. Being the expert will not only contribute to being confident in your work, it also shows the team you are going above and beyond to get up to speed and get ahead of the game.
Lauren Simmons studied journalism and dance at Western Washington University, spending four years spouting her POV for different publications around campus. Constantly looking for the balance between sporty and sassy, she developed her PR and leadership skills working in the sports industry and the fashion industry. Currently an intern for the consumer technology practice at Weber Shandwick Seattle, she’s navigating her way through her first agency experience.
Photo credit Quinn Dombrowski