|Alyssa and Alexandra: |
"There's no such thing as a typical day in PR."
Assistant Account Executives Alyssa Bronikowski and Alexandra Kassel gave us a quick tour of GolinHarris' Chicago headquarters at the corner of The Magnificant Mile and the Chicago River, gave us a great overview of the agency's work, and then discussed some recent campaigns they've worked on for clients including Magnum Ice Cream, Breyers, and the Dow Live Earth Run for Water, among others.
They walked us through GolinHarris' different practice areas, and talked about the various activities account staff will often undertake over the course of a day.
Advice for aspiring PR professionals
Alyssa and Alexandra shared some excellent advice for PR students wanting to approach their internships and first jobs with the right mindset for success.
1) Always be looking for solutions.
In PR, you always have to be finding ways to make things work. If you're a "well, I tried but it didn't work out... and now I'm just going to wait for someone to tell me what else to do" kind of person, PR probably isn't for you. A lot of success in PR depends on your ability (and willingness) to dig until you find the information you really need -- whether it's the best vendor for chocolate jewellery, the right media monitoring solution, or the audience profiles that will ensure you reach the right people with the right messages for your campaign.
2) Be organized.
In a PR agency (just like in the corporate world), PR people face different tasks and challenges, with different factors always changing, and oftentimes for multiple clients, every day. If you don't have your act together, you won't last long.
3) Write, write, write.
So much of what we do in PR depends on strong writing. We write materials for our clients; we write plans that must persuasively outline our strategies; we write proposals to win our clients' business in the first place. The more you write, the better you'll be.
4) Stay on top of new ideas in your profession.
Our hosts recommended our students sign up for The Skinny on PR (click to sign up), a free e-newsletter from PR News that focuses on the PR profession; subscribe to PRWEEK; and always be watching what other organizations are doing. Your education in PR never ends.
At the end of the session, Alyssa and Alexandra gave out their business cards and generously invited our students to contact them if they had any questions about internships, launching their careers, or even projects they might have in school next year. They were excellent hosts, and we were very thankful for the opportunity to learn from them.
Thank you so much, Alyssa, Alexandra, and everyone at GolinHarris -- and to Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich, who helped set us up for our visit there. It was a fantastic experience!