Career Day Reflections on PR

Recently, I had the honor of speaking to several classes of ninth-to-twelfth graders during a Career Day event at Bodine High School in Philadelphia. It was a great opportunity to give back to the community and connect with young people who were just starting to think about their own potential career paths. But as I near my first anniversary with Maven, it was also a chance for me to reflect on how I’ve grown professionally since making the switch from journalism to PR. Here, I outline some lessons that I’ve learned from working for an agency, as well as some key takeaways I shared with the students. 

A Dynamic Profession of Many Disciplines 

When most people think about PR, they conjure up a scenario in which a company has called in the professionals to clean up its messaging in the wake of some awful calamity. And while crisis communications is an integral function of PR, it is far from the only discipline we practice. I tried to impress upon the Bodine students that the world of communications can encompass a whole array of careers for skilled writers and speakers who know how to gather and analyze information effectively. 

For example, you could manage social and digital media for a company or client, leveraging visual elements to implement content strategies and tell brand stories online. Or perhaps you go the way of marketing or advertising to build brand awareness via paid media. Maybe you want to help firms craft their own internal messaging, plan events or shape policies. There’s always work in media or publishing for folks who are more drawn to journalism, or you could help craft and deliver persuasive messaging by working as a speechwriter for a well-known corporate executive, academic institution or politician. 

What I love about working for an agency like Maven is that we get to bring all these skills to bear on behalf of our clients, in a team-based setting. Our commitment to integrated communications ensures that clients are getting the best possible services and proven results. It also means that we never get bored.  

Know Your Strengths, But Always Be Open to Growth 

In explaining my own career trajectory to the Bodine students, I emphasized the importance of knowing your own strengths and leaning into your skills. I’ve been fortunate throughout my education and career to have trusted mentors who acknowledged my abilities and encouraged my growth. This trend, which has continued during my time with Maven, has helped me improve as a writer, first in my career as a journalist and now in PR. But my recent transition to agency life also reminded me that it is equally important to keep developing new skills, whether that means learning the ins and outs of new industries, taking on leadership roles or stepping up to be the kind of mentor others have been for me. Always be willing to push your comfort zone. With any field, but especially in PR, it is crucial to be open-minded, flexible and ready to adapt to changing circumstances. 

I hope the students at Bodine enjoyed learning about life in the exciting and fast-paced world of public relations. Hopefully, my experience offered some level of insight into a profession that, from the outside, can be a bit misunderstood. But I also hope it inspired students to start thinking creatively about all the career opportunities that are out there to explore.  

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