Weber Shandwick Seattle is proud to bring back its intern blog post series that aims to help young professionals land and make the most of their PR agency internships. In our first series, interns gave the inside scoop on What They Didn’t Tell You about careers in PR. This time around, our rock star interns will take a look at how PR professionals can come from a variety of backgrounds. Below is the first post in the series – the skinny on making a splash, from any background.
Know what your momma gave you: In order to make a splash, you have to know what tools you’re equipped with.
I’m from a small town in the Midwest. And yes, I have an accent. Why does this matter? I’m personable. I’ve grown up interacting with almost everyone in my town, a key skill that I apply daily to my coworkers and clients.
You can hear my Wisconsinite vowel when I say ‘no’ – a word you won’t often hear out of my mouth because I am fearlessly willing to give anything a shot. After trying something new, I not only welcome the feedback, but seek it out. Feedback is critical in the work we do so we can continue to learn and grow in this constantly evolving industry.
Dip your toes in first: Have an idea about the depth of water you’re jumping into.
By working hard to design my own degree, a Bachelor of Individualized Studies that consists of public relations, global studies and marketing, I was able to dabble in a lot of fields. Through this process, it was in PR where I discovered I could combine them all.
Another way to dip your toes, in addition to traditional studies, is to speak to people in various positions and industries. Network, volunteer, join industry groups or set up informational interviews. Using the knowledge learned from informational interviews, I decided to pursue agency public relations as opposed to in-house communications. An informational interview provides not only valuable tips and tricks for breaking into the industry, but also extends your network across the country.
Go all in: To make a splash, you have to dive in.
In the Minneapolis PR circles, conversations were centered on social media. Equipped with that knowledge, and knowing that Seattle was ranked as one of the 13 most ‘social’ cities, I accepted an internship and moved across the country. I knew nothing of Seattle except for its vibrant PR community and rainy tendencies. It’s critical in PR to be adaptable and not afraid to put yourself out there.
I began working in the technology industry, which was a whole new realm for me and in a city where its work culture is fast-paced. I soon discovered though, that with complete commitment and going all-in, that I truly enjoy the work and dynamics of the industry.
No matter what your background, to be successful you must be fearless, adaptable and not afraid to get wet. The trends and demands of PR are ever-changing as you will see in the PRSA 13 Trends To Look For In Public Relations During 2013. Stay tuned for more intern-authored posts that explore the varieties of backgrounds that can lead you to a career in PR. You may not have a traditional background in PR or a native to Seattle, but if you just jump in, you too can make a splash in the Seattle PR community.
Author—Elizabeth Schoenborn is from Wisconsin and is currently an intern with Weber Shandwick Seattle. You can find out more about Elizabeth at her LinkedIn profile or by following her on Twitter @Libby8908
Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography