It’s been 8 months since I started working with Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations, and it feels more like 8 days. I’ve learned and experienced so much in the past 8 months, that it’s literally impossible to sum it all up in one blog entry. However, there are some rules that seem to transcend everything I do in this line of work, and I think it’s important to share them with anyone else interested in working in the exciting world of public relations in Philadelphia.
1.Be On Time!
I can’t stress how important this is in any career, not just PR. Even if you have a shoot at FOX 29 at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day (which I did), you’ve got to be on time. It shows your clients that you care, it shows other organizations you work with that you are to be taken seriously, and more than anything it shows you’re devoted to your work.
Now, I won’t lie, there have been some situations where I’ve been a few minutes late for a meeting, or confused one meeting for another, and ended up in the wrong place. And I know this is unacceptable, but being on time has been my goal for a while now, and I won’t be happy until I’m always a little bit early. Of course there are certain situations that will make anyone late, like an unforeseen accident or an emergency situation, but for the most part if you want to be a publicist in Philly, you’ve always got to be on time.
Speaking of which, I’ve created a little trick for myself to ensure I’m almost always early, if not on time. This may work for you too, but I encourage everyone to find ways to make sure you show up when you’re expected to. Personally, I set all of my clocks, watches, and even my car stereo about 20 minutes fast. This way, I’m constantly tricking myself into thinking I’m late. Now you may start to realize that all of your clocks are set fast and account for it, but I have to say it’s really helped me get places much earlier.
Timeliness is a problem that a ton of young men and women of my generation seem to have, and I must say it’s an issue we have to conquer if we’re ever going to be taken seriously on a professional level.
2. Dress the Part
This is something my boss has helped me extensively with over the past 8 months. By no means did I dress like a slob before receiving this job, but I have learned when and where to wear more casual and more formal attire.
My personal opinion and best advice I can give is as a young person, it’s almost never a bad thing to over-dress. Throughout our days, we may have a meeting at a farm, a wedding hall, a restaurant, a construction site or a coffee shop. And I personally think that you can’t go wrong wearing a tie in any situation.
Not only does it boost your self-esteem to dress nice, but it also boosts the opinions of those around you. Dressing up shows others that you take their situation seriously, and you want to be taken seriously, don’t you?!
My boss Peter Breslow has mastered a style of being both casual and formal at the same time. It works for him, and I encourage everyone to find his or her own comfortable style. I tend to err on the side of more formal, especially in new business situations because I am young and look really yourthful. My age can be both an advantage and disadvantage, and by dressing nicer with a tie or suit jacket, I think it helps make me look a bit older.
My boss has also helped me tell the difference between high and low-end quality clothing. I’ve learned that a shirt that’s a bit more expensive may very well last much longer and therefore make it worth the extra cash. Regardless of what you choose to buy or wear, the most important thing is that your clothing is helping you and not taking away from your professional style.
3. Be a Part of a Team
This is my opinion only, but I think a lot of people my age have an undeserved sense of entitlement. Everyone wants to graduate college and immediately be jettisoned into a top position within a company. You need to remember that others have worked very hard to get where they are and this should be an inspiration.
My boss once asked me why I enjoyed working for him so much. Well, there are plenty of answers to that question, but one that sticks out in this situation is that “I ate a lot of shit before I got here.” Pardon the language, but it’s true. Before I got into the world of public relations, I worked a ton of manual labor jobs while working toward my end goal of breaking into PR. I’ve done everything from roofing to literally picking up dog shit as the manager of an animal shelter.
Because of my history, it makes me very willing to fill any role that’s needed of me within the company. We’re working with a high-end menswear brand called Indochino, and everyone has a role as we plan the opening of their new store on 1606 Chestnut Street. We all helped plan the opening party that will welcome Indochino to Philadelphia’s fashion landscape, and I love being a part of a team environment.
Beyond that, one of our clients that truly inspires me is Cescaphe Event Group. CEO and founder Joe Volpe started CEG with a ton of hard work, and every week I’m privy to their weekly marketing meetings, where we plan the choices Cescaphe makes to put itself atop the wedding world in Philadelphia. Joe trusts his employees to make the right decisions for his brand, and he’s been a great leader as CEG has grown to become Philadelphia’s Premier Wedding Brand. Seeing how well CEG functions is a continuing inspiration to always do what’s best for your client and those around you. Being able to work alone is important, but I’d venture to say being able to work with others is just as vital if not more important.
4. Be Flexible/Say Yes
This goes hand-in-hand with being a part of a team. Working for Peter Breslow Public Relations & Consulting is not like most day-jobs in that my day can sometimes start at 7 a.m. and end at midnight. One of the greatest things about my life is that every single day is different. Because of that I’ve had incredible opportunities like eating at the James Beard House, coordinating a tribute dinner for Chef Georges Perrier with six of the top chefs in the region, and even traveling to Minnesota to work with a Sake distillery.
These opportunities arise because I try to always be open to new things and saying yes. Of course, a lot of life is balancing work with everything else, but if you manage to find work that you truly love, then your life and your work end up blending together, which in my case has been an incredible experience.
5. Get Organized/Embrace the Chaos
Although these two things seem different at first, both are vital to being successful in the world of public relations. Getting yourself organized is so important when it comes to everything in life, and personally, it’s always been one of my biggest challenges. Some simple things I’ve done to organize myself professionally include separating your e-mails by clients. I can’t tell you how quickly e-mails can get out of hand, especially if you’re receiving hundreds of messages per day. This will save you a ton of time so you can get more pertinent work done. I also keep a schedule book, which helps me keep my meetings clear and ensure I arrive on time.
On the other hand, you’ve got to embrace the chaos. In this world of PR, things are constantly changing. Meetings change, goals change, and the work changes. You’ve got to be able to roll with the punches and not get frustrated when things don’t go the way you’ve planned. This also goes back to being a team player. If you organize the parts of your life that can be arranged, then you’ll be in a much better situation when things out of your control do change. Just don’t get upset and discouraged, and remember everything that happens professionally can be turned into an opportunity if you’re able to carry the right attitude. Good publicists spend a lot of time turning lemons into lemonade. At Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations, it’s our obsession.
With the beginning of this new year, I hope these tips can help you the same way they’ve assisted me in the day to day of this crazy world of public relations in Philadelphia. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have things any other way if I had the opportunity to change anything in the past year (except maybe leaving earlier for a few meetings), and as always, I consider myself very lucky to be in the position I have attained.
Have a great 2015!