On the job – a peek into PR

Head shot Courtney Young

Head shot Courtney Young

Finding your way

Courtney Young scored an amazing job at Holt International Children’s Services right after graduating from the University of Oregon. “Holt was the only job that I applied to after graduating. I didn’t think that I would actually get it,” she explains about her lucky chance that she got to work with this company.

A “typical” work day for Courtney consists of answering a lot of emails every morning. After busting out emails all morning, she usually takes general media calls, attends meetings, works on current projects, and works with many East Coast companies.

Courtney’s position at Holt International gives her the opportunity to with many local and national state departments and advocates for the cause of international
adoption. Currently, Courtney is busy making plans with the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., for a 60th anniversary of the Korean War event.

Happiest moments

One of the greatest joys this job holds for Courtney is seeing her pieces of work that she has written be published. She explains that it “validates your hard work.”

“The best thing in PR is being the neutral player. You are the voice for the public as a whole. It is important to focus on building relationships to bring your company’s voice and mission to the people. Being knowledgeable in what you do and conveying that knowledge is important.”

The downside

On the other hand, there are moments where being in this profession isn’t so great. As with any other job, there are times when things get rough. Courtney explains that the hardest part is, “You are also the person that gets to answer to all the bad news and press. You have to bare the bad news to the public and be the bad person in their eyes.” The good moments can make up for the bad, and in the long run you get to be the bearer of good news, and that makes it all worth it.

Advice from Courtney

1.       With whatever PR title that you hold, people will expect you to know more or do more than you already know or do. You have to have answers that they couldn’t provide you with in school. The industry is so fast paced and errors can be made so easily. It’s not as fluid as you think it’s going to be, so just be prepared as much as possible.

2.       PR will always get a bad rap for fixing and spinning information. What people don’t get though is that they wouldn’t be getting this information otherwise. We are benefiting them by providing them with information that would usually be withheld.

3.      Follow your gut instincts. You absolutely have to develop a thick skin and tell people no. “The best advice that I ever received was from the Journalism School.  Professor Pat Curtin told me that when you get out into the real world and are working in your job that you always have to have a “nest egg.” You need to have a back-up plan and savings in case there is something you are told to do and you don’t want to do it. You will be told more times than you think to do something, and you won’t want to because it doesn’t fit into your ethical standards. The nest egg will allow you to be able to stand up for yourself and say no and walk away.”

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