June 3rd, 2016 Blog
Recently, we’ve been talking among the duGard Communications team about what we like most about the profession and even about the actual job. A few answers immediately popped into my mind, like how duGard Communications (dGC) isn’t a one-dimensional firm. We have expertise in multiple industries. As a result, my job deals with a variety of clients, in different companies that spread their reach across middle Tennessee. This allows me to see how public relations works. However, that isn’t exactly why I enjoy working in public relations.
As it turns out, there are a few things in life that book smarts can’t prepare you for, obviously working in a firm is one of them. Since graduation, I have stepped into a world that has changed my perspective on public relations completely. Someone once told me, a person I consider wise, ‘you learn more in school than you will ever apply within your career.’ I didn’t really understand that statement until I started working. I think back on that and realize that maybe what they meant was there’s a lot of information taught out of books, but not all is applicable to the real-world. In many cases, I’ve found that things that I learned in class haven’t even been helpful yet. Maybe never. And while it was very important, today, I think I might change that phrase because I believe there is book knowledge and applied knowledge.
Today, I understand that ‘applied knowledge is what truly helps you progress in the real-world.’
It didn’t matter how many college internships I completed or textbooks I stayed up until 3 a.m. studying, nothing truly prepares you more than actually gaining hands-on experience and working full-time (in an agency/firm or on the client side). The one thing that college did teach me was that negotiation skills are handy, and very important, regardless of your career choice. There have been times when a client’s request is out of scope, or too tall of an order to accomplish in the time frame provided. We have had to negotiate (and in some cases compromise) with the client to convince or use a voice of reason with the request. That has been an interesting thing to see and learn.
One thing I did grasp fairly quickly, here at dGC, is that being a people-person is a big plus. I am the type of person who loves to talk to people and help a person fulfill their needs to the best of my ability. Getting to apply myself, in that way, has made me fall in love with public relations more than I already have. Though I know it’s not just about talking to people, there is a lot of work that goes into execution. Everything from analyzing, drafting, crafting and creating content and strategy. I will even admit that with every project, there are some requests and tasks that are easier to fulfill than others.
All in all, I am glad to be in a place where I like what I do and enjoy the work I am doing. While most people think that thoroughly listening to clients is a bore, I thrive off of it. Being able to work one-on-one with clients, hear them out, talk with my team and then execute, is what I enjoy the most. After working with clients in different industries, I have seen the different steps and processes taken to fulfill their needs. Though there is still more to learn, I find this extremely interesting to grasp and understand that what works for one client may not work for another. This has resulted in my growing awareness of how to adjust to the many personalities (and sometimes attitudes) of a client to figure out what works best.
There is still so much more for me to learn, but I look forward to the continued opportunities that dGC provides me and cannot wait to see what PR challenges are in my future.
Ashley Basak is an avid student of the public relations industry and managing the fast-paced atmosphere of dGC. As a graduate of MTSU’s School of Communication, she rapidly adapted to the real-world – gaining experience within multiple industries.