Career Q&A!

April 25, 2017

Tie Front Blouse on Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy

Most of you guys know that in addition to running this blog I also work as a public relations consultant. I represent several beauty and lifestyle brands and manage their PR. And…I have a blast doing so! I’m personally experiencing a bit of a renaissance with my own career as I approach one year of having worked for myself and it is a reminder that our careers are always evolving. If you’re feeling stuck know that things will get better. And remember that it’s all of our jobs to always be learning, always seeking new challenges and always exploring.

I’ve written about career in posts in the past as it’s a topic I’m really passionate about so today I’m happy to be answering some of the work-related questions you guys sent my way!  Thank you guys for doing so and I hope this is helpful.

wit & whimsy's Meghan Donovan talks career

I really just want to know what people in PR actually do. What did a day look like for you while working at an agency? Or what do you actually do for a client?

So one thing to love about PR is that no two days are the same! When I did my internships and when I was entry level A LOT of my time was spent on what I would categorize as “Material Development.” I would create media lists (so what reporters/editors should we be talking to for each particular client) which involved a lot of research. In PR you always need to know who is writing about / talking about what so you can get your clients’ story and news into the right hands to ideally land a story or segment. I would also prepare briefing materials for executives so they knew what to talk about. I’d write press releases and eventually the actual pitches that went to reporters. Nowadays I do this as a consultant, too because the media landscape is always changing. You will come to pitch A LOT! Which is a fun, never ending creative challenge. And when you land a placement it’s so rewarding! Other major PR components involve planning events – these could be media-facing or consumer facing, developing strategic plans for how to launch products or brands, handling crises, developing influencer strategies, writing branded content, etc. PR has a lot of team work too and I always loved that. If you work at an agency you will often work on several clients which can be a nice variety in your work day.

wit & whimsy's Meghan Donovan talks career

I know that each career will obviously have many pros and cons, but if you were to say some of your favorite and least favorite things about working as a PR professional what do you think you’d say?

Favorite thing would be media relations. I truly love working with the press to tell a story or highlight a brand/product. Lease favorite is that the hustle never stops. You must always be thinking of that next story, product launch, event, etc. It can be exhausting. The other thing I think is hard is that a lot of people don’t understand PR so there’s CONSTANT educating going on to your clients about how it works and why it is valuable.

This may be a silly question considering you also run a fashion blog, but what kind of brands did/do you work with?

Not a silly question at all! I started my career working with tech and corporate companies. Everything from Intel and Wells Fargo to Ford and Virgin America (My first job was at a large global agency). I didn’t love it though because it wasn’t companies I particularly cared about. I decided to move to NYC to get more exposure to consumer product goods companies such as beauty brands and I now almost exclusively work with beauty brands. I have a passion about the space so I’ll never tire of reading about it and seeking out new opportunities to feature my clients!

Meghan Donovan of lifestyle blog wit & whimsy talks career

I’m graduating college this year and struggling with how to really kick my job search into high gear? Any tips on how you looked for jobs?

It can be so frustrating to put a lot of effort into looking for a job and feel like you’re not getting anywhere! Especially when so many applications feel like they are going to a black hole where your resume may never be seen. My best piece of advice is to really think critically and creatively on how to set yourself apart. When I was first applying for jobs I didn’t write a traditional cover letter. Rather I introduced myself by writing a press release about myself. Every hiring manager I spoke to told me how unique it was! There are a lot of applicants for every job worth having so you must make the team hiring see why you are the best fit. What makes you special? What makes you worth hiring? When you go above and beyond just submitting a resume for a job companies recognize this quality will most likely carry over into the workplace and that you’ll be willing to the extra mile. That makes you worth consideration! And as inspo, look at this kid!

I’m having trouble finding job opportunities in the sector of PR I want to work in. I am getting a lot of non-profit, healthcare, sales, and corporate jobs and I am more interested in the lifestyle and beauty fields. I am not sure where I should look for those jobs.

I’d recommend starting out by Googling “Beauty PR Agency” or “Lifestyle PR Agency” and creating a list of those you find. Check out their clients and look on Linkedin to see who handles their HR or recruitment. Write them personalized emails and also set up job alerts on sites like Indeed for those specific companies. You can also see if they post openings on their Linkedin page. And, per the aforementioned, find a way to get in front of them in a way that sets you apart so that when they are ready to hire, you are top of mind!

Are there certain personalities or personality traits that you feel are more advantageous or disadvantageous than others for PR? I am an introvert but can definitely be confident (or at least appear it) in situations.

I’d say one of the most important qualities in PR is attention to detail. You can’t let things slip through the cracks. Other great traits are being super creative, determined and great with other people so you can establish relationships with press and also with your clients!

Meghan Donovan of lifestyle blog wit & whimsy talks career

Have you ever had a boss you didn’t like? I’ve been having such a hard time with mine and would love any advice for “handling” it.

Oh, have I! Numerous actually. And in hindsight I should have handled it differently. In one ocassion I allowed my emotions to get in the way of my demeanor and that wasn’t the right approach. My best recommendation for dealing with a boss you’re not getting along with is to find another mentor within your work environment who can be a sounding board and provide guidance when you get into situations with your boss that are frustrating you. Having an outlet with someone you trust and respect (and probably has more experience than you) will let you get some clarity before you do or say something you regret.

I’m also a blogger who has another job. What are your tricks to balancing both?

I’m not sure I’ll ever perfect this! But when I worked a more traditional office job it meant maximizing my time outside the office to commit to my blog. Lots of late nights, early morning shoots and weekend time dedicated to content development. I still do some of that now but as far as tips- get as organized as possible! More of my best tips for part-time bloggers can be found in this post!

Tie Front Blouse I wit & whimsy

Thanks to everyone who sent questions my way! Always feel free to do so 🙂

Shop the Post:

Topshop Top // Jeans // Heels // Sunglasses

p.s. successful women weigh in on how to get and keep a job in PR/Communications and tips on working from home.

[Bekka Palmer Photography]

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