Know What You Don’t Know and When to Say No

If you work or intern in a PR position you know that the job doesn’t exactly come with a how-to guide, and you definitely know it’s not the kind of profession where you can walk into the office and say “this is what I’ll be doing everyday.”

The PR industry has changed from the days when the world thought PR just meant sending out press releases all day; the truth of it is that the job embodies much more than that. From graphic design to event planning and marketing, some PR practitioners can do it all! The real question, however, is should they be doing it all? Definitely not.

You may be thinking that’s absurd, after all why wouldn’t someone want an employee with several skills that can help the company? Well, obviously any employer would want that, and you should always be developing your skills in various area. With that in mind, when you’re hired to do a job you’re getting hired based on your expertise. Expertise you gained from years of experience and an education in PR, and while you may have some pretty decent skills in other areas of communication and creative fields, you’re likely not an expert in those fields.

Unfortunately, it’s often smaller agencies and nonprofits that are guilty of putting too many hats on their PR pros simply because they don’t always have the manpower or funding needed. That doesn’t mean large or small in-house corporate teams aren’t guilty of the same thing; sometimes your boss or team members really just don’t understand the boundaries of your job, which is why it’s so important that you do.

Sometimes it’s okay to take on roles that lie outside of your expertise. Maybe you’re making a quick flyer for an event or perhaps you are taking a headshot for the employee newsletter. It can be very rewarding to use your outside hobbies or skills in your day to day job, especially if it’s helpful. That being said, there are absolutely times where you should know an expert is needed and your skills are not going to make the cut.

Knowing when to step aside and use the help of a professional for things like photography, graphic design, event planning or videography is essential in maintaining the brand, image and integrity of your company. You can’t be expected to plan an event that will host 4,000 people unless you’re an event planner, just like you can’t be expected to design every graphic for a campaign pitched to a client or take professional video at an event. The great thing is that there are professionals for these situations. They are the experts in their field and have plenty of experience to help you and your company reach your goals.

If your job requires you to perform tasks that you aren’t prepared to take on, it’s important to be honest with your client or boss. After all, you’re getting paid to maintain a brand and image for that company, which means knowing what’s best. Sometimes what’s best is relieving yourself of an overload of duties and calling in a professional.

This blog post was written by Account Associate Valentina Wrisley.

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