The on-line advice I’ve seen recently being offered to grads trying to get a job in PR is sadly lacking.
So I thought I’d boil down the wisdom I have acquired over the last 30 years into a brief but highly instructive Q & A.
Q: Should I say I want to go into PR because “I like people” or not? Is that, like lame, even though it’s totally, totally true.
A: Several PR graduates said that to me during interviews. Their bodies have yet to be found.
Q: I have a Ph.D in I.T. and have written code for Apple, Google and NASA. I also won a Pulitzer and Nobel prize my senior year, just after I discovered the cure for cancer while volunteering at an AIDs clinic in Zaire. Should I mention all this when interviewing for jobs in PR?
A: That might work, but it would be wiser to wear a really low-cut dress and high-slit skirt.
Q: But I’m a guy.
A: And your point would be?
Q: What was that noise?
A: The sound of 10 million pink tasers charging.
Q: What PR agency should I apply to? Is Edelman still the largest privately held PR company in the entire universe? And what about Hill & Knowlton? I know H&K is huge, but I have heard they are a CIA front. What do you think?
A: Since Hogs worked for both agencies, we cannot ethically comment, especially if, because of the CIA thing, we don’t want to be assassinated.
Q: I am a Social Marketing whiz. I have created 17,000 websites and Facebook pages for my friends and the Pep Club. And I’ve sent, like, 10 million Tweets. My friends say I am, like, soooooo prolific it’s sick. Plus, I am a total tech-head. Daddy or BF buys me every Apple product the nanosecond it comes out. Should I say all this in an interview? And that, like, I’d really love to work for whatever company, but I’d need off, like, at least a month because I have this sick post-grad ski trip planned, which should be totally paid leave if I get a job first, right?
A: You know that anvil that is always being dropped on Wile E. Coyote? Look up. THUD.
Q: Honestly, what are the odds that I will actually find a paid job in PR straight out of school?
A: Well, everybody is laying people off, there are approximately 10 billion applications for every available position, and every newspaper journalist who loses his job immediately runs to the Dark Side to suck up a job in PR. But I am sure a young woman with your obvious talents will have no trouble at all finding a job.
Q: You’re hitting on me, right, which is, like, totally okay?
A: No, my little PR Bambie, I have socks older and smarter than you. I am not hitting on you. I am mocking you. You need to learn the difference if you plan a career in PR.
Q: Is it true that you have to lie a lot in PR? Because that would just be wrong.
A: Yes and no.
Q: Yes and no to what?
A: Yes, there are times when you have to be an advocate, a true champion, for your client, much like a lawyer. You will have to make eloquent and persuasive arguments that will protect and enhance your client’s brand, focusing only on the positive and deflecting the negativity of the media.
Q: So I will have to lie?
A: Plus also turd polish.
A: A lot.
Q: Some people say I should go into journalism first. That you really have to understand the media before you can effectively deal with the bastards. That you have to understand news writing and the news cycle before you can effectively pitch stories. What do you think.
A: I think I want to kiss you.
(This valuable Q&A has been certified by the Public Relations Society of America).
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