Since I’ve been trying to shimmy my way into the “real” world of public relations, I’ve noticed there are a few things that I’ve ended up kicking myself for not having on multiple occasions.
I’ve also noticed that most of the other professionals are smart enough– or, experienced enough– to carry them.
So, I am assembling a “young PR professional’s toolkit” to keep in my super-stylish-and-sophisticated purple work bag at all times, from this day forward, as long as we both– well, I– shall live. Or until I get a new bag!
Feel free to copy this list. You won’t regret it!
1. Travel-sized toothbrush & floss (it’s hard to impress potential employers, clients, or others in the business with broccoli sticking out of your teeth.)
2. Small comb/brush — You should look clean and coiffed at all times. Everyone else does!
3. Gum– bad breath is no bueno for networking with folks or talking to potential clients
4. Business cards– I may not technically be hired anywhere, but it’s still embarrassing scribbling my contact info on scrap paper for other professionals I meet.
5. Ibuprophen– This may not apply to everyone, but sitting at a computer makes my neck hurt– a LOT. No one likes a whiner.
6. Make-up– Ladies, in PR we often find ourselves running around all day from one place to the next, possibly eating or drinking, and we need to look just as polished each place we go. Touch-ups are inevitable.
7. Pens–Never be caught without a pen. It’s embarrassing to be unprepared when you need to record some good work advice or write a note to yourself and you have to ask your neighbor for a pen. That’s soooo high school! Which brings me to…
8. Notepad– ALWAYS have a notepad. The young professional who is not taking a few notes looks like she’s not learning anything. And you’re not fooling anybody– you don’t already know everything.
9. A change of shoes– Ladies, especially. This one is often overlooked, but the value is incredible. Sometimes travel requires you to ditch the heels (or even flats) and be ready to hike, run around downtown, splash through the mud or rain, etc. Be ready! And finally…
10. Snacks. Sometimes you’ve got to work overtime when you really hadn’t planned on it. Don’t go hungry. Finish up that response to RFP, drop by the PRSA event, and pick up a client’s centerpiece for tomorrow’s event with a granola bar in your system.
I hope this list will be helpful to others– don’t make the same mistakes I did! Don’t be unprepared!
Also, if you’re a professional who has been around this block and you have anything else to add to the toolkit– please let us know!