If someone were to ask me, “did you pick the right major?” I would immediately respond, “yes!” I guess I am fortunate being one of the few lucky college students who didn’t change their major once in four years. I came in as a Public Relations major, and out I will go as a PR grad.
One of the most difficult parts of being a PR major, however, is dealing with the constant confusion that surrounds it. Here are some of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I am in public relations.
So you want to be on TV, huh?
I get this question more than you would think. No, I gently tell them, I don’t want to be on television. If I did, I would have most likely majored in telecommunications or journalism, something of that nature. When it comes to public relations, my job is to get my client on TV, not myself. Not to mention, becoming a TV anchor is definitely not in my top 10 career choices.
What do you want to do with that?
Also a very common question I receive when I tell people that I am a public relations major. When someone asks what I want to do with PR, I want to snidely respond with, “Well, public relations”. Yes, as shocking as it is, I want to do public relations with my public relations degree. To be fair, I think people ask me this question because they don’t actually know what PR is and they are hoping that I explain it to them. Of course, there are a few different avenues you can take with this, but still, I don’t think my response is too harsh.
Oh, like Samantha from Sex and the City?
Granted, Sex and the City is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and my name is Samantha. However, this isn’t exactly correct. While what Samantha does is technically public relations, like all TV shows, it does not portray the profession realistically. Besides, Samantha does PR mostly for individuals–and those who are famous. The PR that I want to do (and what I think is most common) is PR for organizations and businesses and is all about getting media coverage to enhance the organization’s exposure and brand awareness/knowledge. Samantha is awesome, but don’t think of her as the greatest example of PR that’s out there.
So you like to talk a lot then?
While this is extremely applicable to myself, I wouldn’t say that this is true of all Public Relations professionals. While communication is certainly a key aspect of PR, I don’t think that it is everything. I do firmly believe that someone quieter or more reserved could thrive in public relations–especially with technology and communication being the way that it is today. Like I’ve said before, people don’t fully understand public relations and what all it entails. People truly believe that all you do is “talk”. Which brings me to my next question…
So, basically you’ll get paid to just talk all day?
Not really sure why I’ve gotten this question as many times as I have. I honestly don’t think there is any job in the world where you simply “talk” all day–and I have no idea why people think this is what public relations is, because it is so much more than that. Not only is PR about building a reputation and increasing public awareness of an organization/company/individual, but there is a lot of research and critical thinking that goes into it as well. Public relations professionals spend countless hours researching journalists to pitch stories to just to be turned down. We incorporate design, writing, research and communication to create knowledge about a client, despite the fact that PR isn’t always as quantitative or measurable in ways that our similar-but-also-different cousins, marketing and advertising, are.
Oh, good for you
The response that I get most often because it is easier for people to pretend like they know what PR is than to ask me any of the above questions.