This story first appeared on PR Daily in August, 2015.
Whether it’s knowledge of SEO or brand journalism, the ever-changing must-have skills for public relations professionals continue to expand.
Beyond actual abilities, there is a certain kind of person who thrives in the unique environment of PR.
Here are seven characteristics that prove you are meant to be in the profession. You might relate to a few, or all, of the following:
1. You’re a gamer.
Nothing motivates you more than the prospect of winning, which is why you bring your “A game” every day. Whether you were an elite athlete or the person chosen last in gym class, in the PR world you are a true competitor. Going head to head with your rivals gives you an adrenaline rush.
2. You go for an extra shot.
When you order a drink with an extra shot, it’s almost always espresso. You live and breathe coffee. Imagining a life and deadlines sans caffeine and sugar is ridiculous.
3. You worship Thomas Edison.
Electricity is your lifeblood. You can’t imagine facing the day without a fully charged smartphone, tablet and laptop. You spend your time in coffee shops and restaurants based on the accessibility to power outlets. The menu is secondary. Who has time to eat anyway?
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4. You are despised by people sitting behind you at the movies.
Your definition of misery is not being able to check messages and social media accounts at 15-minute intervals. For example, you try really hard to set your phone aside at the movies, but really, two hours is simply too long without knowing whether a crisis is unfolding with your company or client. (Editor’s note: It’s probably best that you avoid live theater altogether.)
5. You never just “watch” or “read” the news.
You see what’s happening in the world through a lens focused on how your company or client can be part of the conversation. Your favorite go-to journalists are conveniently programmed into your phone so you can quickly contact them with the perfect expert when a big story breaks. Your philosophy: A solid PR professional can help define what’s newsworthy, similar to the influence an editor can wield.
6. You frequently forget what day it is.
In a job that’s a nonstop frenzy from the moment you enter the office, and even during your time off, one day seems to meld into the next. When you finally come up for air, you’re not sure whether it’s Tuesday morning or quitting time on Thursday. However, you usually know when it’s Friday afternoon. Why? That’s when a PR crisis typically happens.
7. You didn’t take math in college—a decision you now regret.
You can recite every rule in the AP Stylebook but can barely balance your checkbook. Who needs math, right? Looking at spreadsheets may make your head hurt, but seeing the metrics on earned and paid media and insanely big numbers that describe your project’s ROI suddenly makes everything feel a lot better. (Apply for a PR Analytics job)
In the end, no matter how crazy your day becomes, most true PR professionals would not have it any other way.
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.
This article was created in partnership with MediaSource.