Working as a PR girl is honestly hilarious sometimes. There’s definitely this perception that follows anyone in the field of public relations, and it typically is of some shiny-haired, skinny, latte-sipping girl who is never seen with a chip in her manicure or stinky breath. While I’m sure those PR girls exist (how, I’m not really sure…) but the truth is that perception is more than a little skewed. All of the PR girls I know are hard-working women who thrive off of fast-paced environments, who kill themselves to work around the clock to meet deadlines, and do ridiculous things to keep their clients happy.
Given that I’m coming off of a week of creative mailing packout, I thought I’d share just a few of the tasks that every PR girl can expect to do throughout her career regardless of what level she is. Granted, you’re probably going to be doing a little more strategic planning and a little less media monitoring as you work your way up the totem pole, but that’s just a distant dream for this girl!
- Physical labor: From packing out over 300 creative mailers (see photo above for reference to what that actually looks like) to last-minute Target runs in multiple Ubers around LA because the picture frames you shipped out to decorate your event booth cracked in transit, the physical aspect of PR is definitely a surprise most people don’t anticipate. I guarantee you that every PR girl in the world has done things in high heels that should NEVER be attempted unless you’re either a professional or desperate to keep your client happy. Period. Also to be clear, I wear the high heels strictly on event days because lord knows I won’t be lugging boxes around the office on a daily basis. I’d probably have broken both ankles by now if that was the case.
- Weird hours: While this isn’t necessarily surprising for students who are familiar with the PR field, I don’t think people really grasp HOW weird your hours can get as a PR girl. From trade shows that start at 9am, so setup has to be underway by 6am to flying out to an event location to literally do a site-check and fly back in 24 hours…the life of a PR girl is literally always on-the-go. As someone who really thrives on a set schedule, this was one aspect of the job that I’m still adjusting to week to week. Depending on what your niche is for PR, you could have the opportunity to travel frequently, which a lot of my industry friends see as a huge perk of the job. I, of course, humbly agree. Who wouldn’t like to travel for free and meet digital influencers?! I think that employers should be incredibly up-front about the travel time that comes with the PR position, and most are. If you’re in the interview process, definitely don’t hesitate to speak up and ask what your typical work week would look like! Not only does it give you a question to ask your interviewer, but you’ll definitely be well-prepared for what you’re walking into if you choose to accept the PR position.
- Excel: This is a weird one, but the amount of time you’re going to spend staring at Excel is literally unreal considering that public relations is the most non-numerical position in the world. Hours, people. Excel is used to track media placements, maintain press lists, create check-in lists….and that’s just barely scratching the surface. Word to the wise: take an Excel or Microsoft Word skills class in college. Just do it, and actually pay attention. It’ll probably be the smartest move you could ever make to advance your career!
Alright fellow PR people out there, what did I miss? I feel like these are the basic surprises you might expect when entering the field but I KNOW I missed something!
Leave your tips and tricks in the comments!