This is the number one most common request I get asked when interviewing college students across the country for our internship program. It’s a valid question, and an answer I, too, wanted to know when I was stepping off my beautiful campus and into the big scary world that included a PR agency job.
When I get asked this question now, I try to give the most honest responses I can because the answer “well, every day is different” while true, drove me crazy. That’s why I was excited when I was asked to share my raw, unadulterated thoughts and experiences with PRSSA students at my alma mater, American University.
During the panel discussion with others in the PR industry, students asked questions like “how do you negotiate a salary out of college?” and “is there really always free food?” Here are my top three favorite questions and what I was able to share with our next generation of PR pros.
1) How do you start your day?
A lot of my fellow panelists answered “check my emails.” This might be true for me some days, but for the most part, nothing in my day happens before I have coffee. Mornings are a sacred time that should be protected- take time to prepare your mind for the day before jumping right in. Maybe that means hitting the gym, meditating, or like me, making a pot of coffee. Whatever you do, make sure you’re bringing your best self to your teams and clients each day.
2) What are some roles in your agency that aren’t client-facing?
None. There’s not a single person here at Porter Novelli who isn’t engaged with their clients directly. Our business is about client service excellence and building genuine relationships. From account managers to creative designers, every person gets the opportunity to meet and work with our clients because we believe that’s how we best get to know them and understand their challenges so we can partner to find solutions.
3) How did you figure out what topics you like the best?
I love this question, because I like to tell people I have a fear of commitment when it comes to which industry or topic I like working on the best. I went into my first job thinking I wanted to work on travel and public affairs. And while I do still enjoy those types of clients, I’ve had the opportunity to work on finance, cyber-security, and even automotive projects – and loved them, too. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to soak up every experience, every challenge, and every skill, regardless of the topic or industry. This is your chance to sharpen your skills and know that expertise will develop with time.
Have a question I didn’t cover? Send questions to me @hope_e_evans