Wednesday, June 9, 2010

career ponderings

Time is flying by so fast I can't even believe it. I feel like it was yesterday that I still had an entire semester left in college, and now all of a sudden I have five days until my internship begins at J. Mendel in New York City. I'm really excited for this new beginning but obviously at the same time I am so nervous. During the past two weeks that I have spent at home, a lot of time has been dedicated to thoughts about what I would like to find in a career. The next few months will be dedicated to public relations work, which is the area that at least up to this point, I think I am most interested in. Here are the reasons why I think PR is so intriguing:

1.) Public relations is becoming increasingly involved in marketing techniques in digital media. While years ago it was a field that existed for purely tactical reasons, a major shift has taken place. In fact, with a blurring between PR and marketing, messages are easier to promote. Brand management now requires a multifaceted approach in our information society. In an article by Matthew Schwartz in the PR Factor he explains, “Cultivating relationships with consumers now requires an organic approach, which is built into the DNA of PR. Indeed, the core strengths of public relations—the ability to tell a story and spark conversation—play into the nature of such social media as blogs,  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and forums.” In short, the strategic use of social media is, at the moment, a major contributing factor to a brand’s overall success.

2.) It is fast-paced and there is always so much to learn. Public relations professionals must be in the know at all times about the world around them. Our society is not a static entity—rather, it is changing all the time. New technology and social media networks are constantly being developed, and the active use of these new options and improvements play an integral part in any marketing campaign.  Staying on your toes is imperative in the world of PR.

3.) It is interactive. The senior VP of marketing and communications at IBM, Jon Iwata, reveals that while a PR professional does not control what a reporter publishes, “you must know how to gain trust, build relationships and shape views and opinions with credibility.” Forming these networks will take time and a lot of effort but is incredibly important. Learning how to build strong professional relationships is something I am really looking forward to.

4.) It involves writing. Social media is all about contributing to and tracking the blogosphere. A major value of PR comes with the integration of the internal and external, explains Phil Juliano, VP of global brand management and corporate communications at Novell.  Not only may a company share what they are thinking and doing with the public through writing, but a humanizing aspect is added to the corporate world as a whole. The fact that the public may now engage in conversation with companies is a large reason why PR is valuable to our entire society.

5.) I am very interested in small businesses. Learning how to develop a new business or brand into a successful corporation is absolutely fascinating to me. If this interests you too and you haven’t read Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point, I highly recommend it. It is a non-fiction account of how initially small ideas flourish into epidemic phenomenon.

6.) My degree in Sociology has taught me that our society is a much more complex entity than we initially perceive.  I want to further explore the ways in which we, as consumers, affect what stays on the market.

7.) I want to embrace my creative side and help it thrive. Compelling ideas are what stand out in the world of social media—but how do you come up with them? Observing other companies’ success, reading about new trends, and just being aware are my first tactics. 

There are so many things about public relations that I don't know yet, and I am equally excited to learn about those. It is an area that I am inherently interested in, and so I am hoping that there will be more 'ups' than 'downs' on a daily basis. Blogging about careers definitely helps keep stress levels down about the uncertainty of the next stage of my life, so thank you for bearing with me. At the same time that I can't stop thinking about a direction that I would like my life to take, I am aware that work should not take over my life. So, I decided to make another list.

Ways that I am going to keep myself centered:
1.) Reflect.
2.) Keep up with my blog.
3.) Keep in touch with friends.
4.) Get enough sleep.
5.) Read for pleasure and keep up with news.
6.) Visit my family.
7.) Take pictures. Photography calms my soul in a way not a lot of other things can.
8.) Go for long runs.
9.) Take a minute to slow down. The hustle and bustle of the big city should not be reflected in my every move.
10.) LAUGH. I don't think this will be too hard.

Anyways, I hope everyone is having a good week!

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