22 May Five Core Values that will Help You Make it in PR
At SpeakerBox, one of the many hats I wear is mentor interns who join the team for a few weeks or months. I aim to give them a snapshot into what it’s like to work at a public relations agency.
When we hire young professionals, we add them to teams and treat them as colleagues. We work alongside them and try to teach and mentor them through the onboarding process.
One question I am often asked, whether it’s by an intern or a full-time candidate, is, “What does it take to make it in PR?” The answer to that question lies in the five elements that make up SpeakerBox’s core values – Scrappiness, Owning It, A Drive for High Performance, Caring, and Self-Starting. These are also the basis for our One Team award, a peer recognition for going above and beyond daily responsibilities. If you can hold yourself to these virtues, they will take you far in the world of PR.
Let’s take a deeper look into what each of these means, why we place such value in them, and how you, as a young professional, can apply them for a greater chance of success in PR.
Scrappiness – a resourceful, can-do attitude and ability to figure things out without having to be spoon-fed. Often, our days don’t start out the way we planned and we work on the fly for clients as events unfold, so there isn’t always a well-defined plan. Being a little scrappy and trying to figure out the missing pieces is appreciated. It’ll also earn you some points with the team if they know you’re doing what you can on your own.
Owning It – taking the lead and seeing things from start to finish. Instead of waiting for a manager to give you work to do, stepping up to take the lead on a blog post or press release shows your determination to be a team player. Even if you don’t know exactly what to do, taking the lead on a project, communicating with the client on the team’s behalf, and keeping the team apprised of progress are all examples of owning it.
A Drive for High Performance – a palpable motivation for client and personal performance. Not just wanting it – living it. This attribute is about putting your best foot forward. You care about the deliverable and are looking for ways to improve upon and make it better. You take an extra step and provide more context, additional resources, or something else that maybe the client or your team didn’t know they needed but you think would be helpful.
Caring – a real interest in the success and well-being of clients and colleagues both personally and professionally. This award is handed to a co-worker to recognize hard work, extra effort, or support. Offering to take a pitch off of a team member’s plate when they’re swamped, or helping someone out by doing the prep work for a bigger project are both great examples of caring for a fellow team member. Actions such as personally congratulating a client on a recent award win, wishing them a happy birthday, or simply taking an interest in something they’ve mentioned in the past all show your team and your clients that you’re invested in them.
Self-Starting – the confidence to see opportunities or pick up initiatives and go. Team “collaboration” may follow but the “start” sets progress and success in motion. Team leads are in charge of the strategy, day-to-day execution, and all team activities, including their own, but junior team members should also feel encouraged to self-start. It’s extremely valued when a younger team member comes to an internal meeting with a new idea (or four) and then takes the lead to get started. Another idea would be keeping reports, coverage trackers, media lists, etc. updated without being asked.
Striving for these extremely important attributes can surely help lead anyone to succeed in the world of PR, where things are ever-changing. Being supported and involved not only makes you a valued and likable team member but will also likely put you on a fast track to gaining more responsibility as you climb the corporate ladder.