Finding Your PR Bliss

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 10.08.25 PMTake a look around you… do you notice that public relations surrounds you? It’s the logo on your shirt, the signs on the subway you ride, the shampoo that you use, the news that you read, the cereal you have eaten since you were five… and the list goes on. PR is everywhere, everything we know and see is communicating in some way.

The fact that PR is everywhere is great! It means that as public relations professionals we can work in any industry or with clients that specialize in things we have a passion for, whether it’s food, travel, construction, politics, interior design, fashion… shall I continue?

But how do we find what makes us happy in the workplace? How can we find our “PR bliss” before the real world full of bills and nine-to-fives hits? The answer is simple: we must explore. We must explore our options, our likes, our dislikes, the known and unknown. College students are granted four whole years to explore student organizations, internships, classes and friendships to realize what makes us unhappy and to pinpoint what we enjoy.

The more opportunities that you take advantage of, the closer you will get to discovering your PR bliss. Go forth, and explore:

Engage in conversation. Get out there and network. Absorb your verbal encounters that can lead to new information, a new point of view on things or a future opportunity.

X-out all your dislikes. For example, if you aren’t a fan of Twitter, then you know social media isn’t for you. By deciphering your dislikes you can x-out all the paths that won’t lead you to bliss.

Portray yourself. Be who you want to be. Be proud of the person you are and own your characteristics. Being yourself will help narrow down your path to bliss, and will internally distinguish what you want out of your life.

List your hobbies and interests. Do you like sports? Most pro athletes or teams have PR staff. Do you like technology? I’m pretty sure Apple’s brand didn’t invent itself. Are you a film buff? I don’t think red carpet premiere events plan themselves. Your list of likes will lay out potential career paths that will make you happy.

Opportunities; take advantage of them all. You never know, maybe singing at karaoke night will reveal a love for music. Or taking a corporate internship will prove you’re meant for something along the lines of a non-profit. Every experience will help guide you in the right direction of your PR bliss.

Read. The more you read, the more you know. Whether you read news, gossip magazines, novels or online blogs, literature will introduce you to things outside of your local bubble and will help you explore the unknown.

Expect the unexpected and don’t be afraid of change. You’re going to make mistakes, curve balls will be thrown at you, and how you deal with the unexpected will define what you are cut out for in the PR world.

With PR, the opportunities are endless and finding your PR bliss is a journey, but when you explore all your options and interests your path will become clearer and clearer, and you’ll eventually arrive at your destination of bliss. 

-Marisa Dockum is a junior communications studies major with a global leadership certificate. Follow her at @MarisaDockum.


“I Took the Road Less Traveled By…”

“I took the road less traveled by…”

417853_10201265342899333_1879152046_nThe career of public relations asks us to take a step outside the box. Through an unforeseen opportunity, I took a step outside of the internship box and onto the “road less traveled by” that led to offices of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1.

When thinking about public relations, most don’t associate it with highway construction and snowplowing. However, because I took the opportunity to be a Public Information Office Intern for ODOT, I have gained a new perspective on the limitlessness of PR, the importance of the work done by areas of the public sector and what it truly means to be versatile.

When I began, I didn’t know the first thing about construction. I didn’t know the terminology, the safety protocol or the purpose of the projects. On my first day, I attended orientation where I was briefed on basic procedure. They gave me an office, phone, computer, office supplies and a hard hat. My second day included going underneath I-75 and taking pictures of one of the largest culvert installations in ODOT history (basically, a huge drainage pipe). How many rising PR pros can say they have done that? I learned the terminology, I learned the protocol and I learned by experience.

 There is only one Public Information Officer on staff per district. My supervisor, Rhonda Pees, is the Public Information Officer at the District 1 office and is constantly updating the public by means of press releases, multimedia presentations, photo stories, written articles, social media and community outreach events.

 To my delight, Rhonda is someone that trusts me as a team member rather than her intern, and I have developed excellent portfolio pieces within a few weeks. I gained experience through these different areas of PR, and consider myself versatile in my skills because of this.

 I have only worked for ODOT for one month, and I already feel like I could work there forever. The people are lovely, the work is challenging and interesting and I constantly grow as a person and a professional. That is the benefit that comes from taking on something new. The transformation within oneself is worth the courage it takes to get there.

 “..and that has made all the difference.”

-Allison Evans is a junior studying strategic communications with a specialization in marketing. Keep up with her summer internship at ODOT at @Allison_Evans.