By: Emily King
A panel of professionals discussed life inside the agency world. The panel spoke on the real day-to-day life of communicators and work-life balance. The panel consisted of Amiso George, professor at Texas Christian University who moderated the session, Valerie Beesley, vice president of Finn Partners, Jennifer Little, executive vice president of Texas Market Leader BCW, and Scott Pansky, Co-Founder, Senior Partner of Allison & Partners.
What do managers and people look for in hiring?
Beesley: “Always look super interested, do your research … on the company and know what they stand for,” Beesley said. Going into an interview knowing and understanding how the company works and what they stand for will set you apart.
Little: Tell your story about what you have done and relate to skills you need for PR. Show the interviewer that you have done the work. She wants to see that students have a passion for this industry, being at ICON is an example.
Pansky: Make sure to ask questions during the interview. Before you apply make sure to ask yourself these questions, “Do you want a career or just a job? Where is your passion? Have you done your homework? Do you know our clients?” Pansky said.
Could you share your thoughts on informational interviews?
Beesley: Informational interviews are a way to learn. Ask for suggestions from the interviewee on what you could be doing or how to conduct an interview better. Go into it by not asking for a job but learning what that person does. “Plant the seed and build those connections,” Beesley said.
Little: “Drop the expectation that you are going to get a job out of this interview,” Little said. “Do the interview to get information and to chat.”
Pansky: Informational interviews are great for relationship building. The people you interview will remember you when they hire one day or when they are asked if they know someone good for this job. Being genuine and getting to know someone will put you further in your career goals. Always remember to follow up in the future.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Beesley: A good tip is to ask your informational interviewee what their work-life balance looks like in their company. Make sure to ask how much out-of-office work is done in the position you are applying for. This could help see what your work-life balance will look like working for that company.
Little: You have to set your boundaries in life. “Sometimes you have to cancel a vacation because you want to be a part of a project,” Little said. “And sometimes I don't want to be a part of something and that's why I’m taking a vacation.”
Pansky: The world we live in now where hybridization is common I think will help tremendously with balancing work. This past year Pansky made it a goal to attend all of his kid's sports games. Make sure to set the time aside to be present in your life and not always put work first.
How do you see the agency changing?
Beesley: We will be seeing more integrated campaigns. During these future campaigns, there will be a lot of consideration of all channels. Depending on what the audience needs and where they spend the most time are where we will see how channels change.
Little: Social media has changed the game of PR. Social media won’t be going away and this has been the biggest game changer. It will continue to change and we have to stay on top of it and use it to our advantage.
Pansky: No matter what happens in the industry we still have to focus on what's going to happen. “The press release is still going to be sent,” Pansky said.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Beesley: Always be curious and care. The trick to doing well in your career is to be curious, always ask questions and go further. Care what the work you are doing and what's around you.
Little: “Be okay with making mistakes, we are our toughest critiques, accidents happen, and always laugh after,” Little said.
Pansky: Participate in meetings and don't be shy. You aren’t going to be as young in your career as you are now. “Don't be shy and participate early,” Pansky said. “Young professionals aren’t just order takers.”