I heard once that one of the worst things someone could say in an interview for a job in public relations was “I just like working with people!” Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I was guilty of saying this at one time.
While I pondered why this was such a horrid statement to make, I realized that it’s not so much because it sounds immature, it’s because it is another stereotype that continues to hold the field of public relations back. Working in public relations is so much more than just working with people, or doing things that make people happy.
So now I’ve jumped on the boat of shaming the ‘people pleasers’ who want to work in PR. It may be a true statement – you may truly love working with people – but don’t let that be your “Why I want to work in PR.” More fitting reasons may be that you enjoy problem solving, like developing creative ways to reach your publics, or just plain enjoy coming up with a strategic plan and implementing and evaluating it.
Of course, this problem could easily be nipped in the bud at the beginning of a student’s college career in public relations. I don’t recall ever being asked why I wanted to be in PR when I first started school, and maybe its time professors started asking. By starting this conversation at the beginning of a student’s work, they’ll be better educated on the true work of public relations professionals, and what role they can play in advancing the field.