Benielle Sims of The Boston Globe came to speak to our club last week and had a ton of great advice to pass on. She has worked in PR for almost her whole career, and even does PR for Jake Gyllenhaal’s charity event for New Eyes for the Needy, See for Change II. Throughout her career, she’s acquired quite a bit of knowledge that she then passed on to us.
1. Know your preference of agency or in house PR. Even if you don’t want to work in agency PR, it’s a great place to train for a solid backing in PR, and will teach you how to handle day to day PR activities. Many employers look for agency training, so keep that in mind!
2. Learn how to pitch! It’s easy to learn, and you do it all the time (like asking your parents for more money). Alter your pitch depending on your relationship with the reporter you’re speaking with. Know your strengths, whether it’s email or phone. Make sure you have a strong first few sentences to grab the attention of the person on the receiving line. Be sure to know an elevator pitch for all of your clients too, you never know when you’ll need to use it.
3. Know what type of PR you’re interested in. (And think about where you want to live)! Certain cities are great for certain types of PR. For example, Boston is a very tech-centered PR city. If you’re interested in entertainment PR, New York may be more your scene. Benielle suggests that if you’re not sure what type of PR you’re interested in, try everything! Get involved and volunteer for events that PR firms are putting on to see what interests you.
4. In entertainment PR, you might encounter celebrities (like Jake Gyllenhaal!), so don’t get star struck. In any situation, never appear frazzled or affected, and be professional and personable. In the cut throat fashion/entertainment PR industry, always be willing to go the extra mile. And remember, it’s all about networking.
5. Always know the product! Don’t be afraid to speak up and be confident. Know your strengths and weaknesses, know what you’re looking for in a job, and never get flustered. Don’t be afraid to get a little “ballsy” when scoping out an interview!
6. Regardless of your major, get experience in both the journalism and communication fields. It will help to strengthen your skills and make you the best you can be.
A big thanks again to Benielle for the great talk and awesome PR tips!