Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Friday, October 10, 2008

So you want a job in public relations...

This post is dedicated to Ya Hui, who baffles me that she'd ask me for advice on working in PR. Nothing in this post is sanctioned by my agency, Text 100. It's totally and completely, my opinion. Here goes nothing.

1. It's not about meeting people
A very popular question you ask interviewees is "Why do you want to do PR?" A very popular answer is "because I love meeting people." Don't use this answer. As often as you meet people and work with people, the PR job requires much more than that. It's about thinking, analysing information and delivering good advice to clients, then actually executing on it. That's a lot of hard work and a lot of tip-tapping on the keyboard.

2. Currency, currency.
And I don't mean money. One thing you need as a PR consultant is to be current with the news. You need to know what's going on in the country, the industries your client works in and what happened in last nights episode of Lost. Then be able to turn that into solid advice. Nope, you can't live in your own world anymore.

3. See the big picture
Context is a big word nowadays and this is something I've obsessed about in previous times past. "Thinking in the meta" is what I called it, but that's usually what (to me) makes a stand out potential hire and someone to pass by. What this means is you can see how one action can affect the situation in such a way that it creates an opportunity for the next. "If I do this now, then my competitor will do this, and I'll be able to do that." This is also what CEOs are hired to do.

4. Work responsibly
There's nothing worse than an irresponsible consultant or colleague. PR work is full of follow-ups and deadlines. And it doesn't help that one little mistake can cost A LOT. So, more than ever, to work in PR you need to be trustable, responsible and resourceful, so people know you'll get the job done.

5. Scruples
If you don't understand the word, click here. Solid principles are a yes, yes for PR work as you will deal with a lot of people and God forbid that one unscrupulous act comes back to haunt you for the rest of your career. Besides, integrity is the number one requirement for any top job - like the president of the United States.


joshuaongys said...

interesting insight thoughts from you... now i know what to talk to my frens who're taking PR... but well every job is not an easy job.... do take care there

Elaine said...

Actually, your first point is misguiding. While Public Relations isn't all about meeting people, it's a very, very important part of the job.

Many PR practitioners live by KPI's, and as long as the story comes out or the media turn up, they think their job is done. However, an inbred passion for socializing while getting all the hard work done is what sets the best PR practitioners apart. Those with unfaltering friendliness, sincerely accommodating nature and sensitivity, are the ones who don't just 'work' with the media & other partners--they build relationships with them. In the long run, these PR practitioners will become more powerful and influential.

That said, if you can't get the grunt work done, no amount of socialising can save your career.

davidlian said...

@elaine: Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love your statement about PR people who live by "KPIs" coz those are my exact same thoughts.

My comments on meeting people was not to downplay the importance of social skills, which we can agree are highly important. I was pointing out that most new grads think PR is "only" about meeting people and that's wrong.

@joshua: And you can also point your friends to my blog...

yahui said...

i am very touched that you took time to reply my humble little question, David. thank you sooooo much! :-* you seem pretty accomplished in your job and i'm keen on learning more from outside the classroom, and from people who are actually within the industry.

point 1 is certainly good advice, but should be in balance with all other factors, as Elaine pointed out. that's a pretty invaluable advice, David. thanks. :) will definitely take note of the skills and personalities needed (point 2-4) as well, that's what everyone in the industry has been heavily emphasizing.

i always believe to be 'in the practice' rather than being stuck in classrooms, doing tutorials. -.- thank God TARC gave us a chance to organise a full-blown event else i'd just be babbling to you directly from what i've learnt from my textbook, not understanding what you're trying to preach. :)

oh well, i have yet to discover PR deeper. after diploma, then there's degree. i wonder what new discoveries i'll make soon. :)

btw, why are you baffled? shouldn't the word be 'flattered'? :P

and once again, thank you! :)

davidlian said...

@yahui: Awesome. Yes, PR is an exciting field, but it isn't an 'easy' course as common wisdom might infer. :) All the best to you.