Job Satisfaction Matters
Bokie Chan, graduate of the Higher Diploma in Public Relations and Media Business in 2012, has been pursuing a career in public relations since her graduation. While all her classmates, more than 20 of them, have taken a different career paths, Bokie chooses to continue her story as a public relations (PR) professional. “It is the job satisfaction that matters!” Bokie explained. “Events organisation could leave you exhausted. Yet your efforts will eventually pay off; when you spot the noise created by the events you organised, or the additional exposure gained on media for clients’ brands, or the feedback and viral effects earned on web and social media. Even a single press coverage on media, or a simple compliment from client, will make your day.”
Exploring for Understanding
PR work is demanding. It requires one to get into frequent contact with people of different backgrounds. It also involves massive coordination work and regular overtime workhour, which has kept most people out of the field. When asked on the reason for choosing Public Relations as her Higher Diploma studies programme, Bokie revealed, “PR work requires one to get in touch with many people, which is a perfect match with my outgoing character.” She got a chance to work as a part-time staff in a PR firm after commencing her studies at IVE. Though only simple tasks were involved, this part-time job has already served as a stepping stone for Bokie to steadily accumulate knowledge and continue her development in the industry. “You’ve got to make it clear that whether the job satisfaction is sufficient to keep yourself motivated in the field.” Bokie encouraged interested youngsters to try every means to explore more on every aspects of the industry; and if possible, try works of different positions.
Upon graduation from IVE, Bokie furthered with a top-up degree and worked as an intern in a sizable PR firm which later became her first full-time job after graduation. Having served in 4 companies of different scales within 6 years, and tried on various works of PR areas, she now chooses to stay with a firm with its focus on fashion and sports, which is absolutely her cup of tea. Making suggestions to latecomers, Bokie reiterated the importance to explore on different areas of PR, so as to uncover one’s true interest, find the right direction and strive towards the goal. “While working in small company might be tougher, you’ll definitely learn more and broader in a sizeable organisation which would equip you with intensive knowledge at more specific areas.” Bokie advised.
The devil is in the details
Bokie believed that the recent PR disasters that we came across in Hong Kong had indeed promoted the importance of PR, and prepared a bigger room for industry development. In addition to maintaining good relationship with reporters, it is now more important for PR practitioners to communicate with target audiences through social media and to build up relationship with influencers such as YouTuber Creators and KOLs. In order to develop an appropriate PR strategy for clients, one must be a professional of social media management. “The job nature is similar to marketing, yet we have to spend much more time on dealing with different media.”
While a successful PR professional have to maintain close relationship with media, with so many information being released daily, how can a PR practitioner stand out from the others? “Therefore, as a PR professional you have to be detail-minded. You should pay attention to every details. For reporters of monthly magazines, it would be much easier for you to talk about your events with them during late-month period, when they do not have much deadline pressure. We must bear in mind and accommodate the distinct personal character and work habits of different reporters and media so as to do a good PR job.”
Bokie insisted on hand-writing 40-50 greeting cards for her friends of media during festive seasons. You can tell that Bokie is certainly a detail-minded person. Every card is different. Every card would carry the latest relevant and personalised messages from Bokie. “As a PR professional, if you want to stand out from others, you have to pay more attention to details.” Bokie supplemented.
It is crucial for PR practitioners to keep abreast of the times. Photo and video editing is never a problem for Bokie. And, despite how busy she is, she would still arrange to take some courses of social media management, or read some books which can further enrich her PR knowledge. During holidays, Bokie would still keep her eyes on the latest updates of celebrities, KOLs, YouTuber Creators, or any other new topics or trends online. Indeed, Bokie’s work has already been blended into her life. Even if she is strolling along the streets or having a leisure trip overseas, she would still pay special attention to others’ events or competitors’ advertisements.
Passing on Experience
One can depict the work of PR as to prepare for crisis management anytime, and to maintain outstanding performance even under huge pressure. Once for an event Bokie organised, the participants list, which involved over 1,000 participants, was only confirmed 11:00p.m. on the day before the event by their client. Bokie’s team needed to prepare all the name badges till 4:00a.m., then went home to freshen up themselves a little, and got right back to the venue without a nap to prepare for the event commencement at 9:00a.m..
Bokie has contributed to the work of the VTC Public Relations and Media Business Alumni Association as Chairlady for 4 years despite her busy work. By holding seminars on industry development, she was able to come back to alma mater and get into close contacts with youngsters. She could get insights into latest topics and trends of the youths and understand their favourites. By doing so, she could also expand her network and recruit more talents for the industry.
While Bokie has assumed a different role as a consultant for the Alumni Association this year, she still continues to provide advice and assistance for her latecomers, even for issue as little as O’camp organisation. “Every Alumni Association is unique. As PR practitioners, we understand the significance of passing on our experience, and a live demonstration is much more effective than mere verbal comments and advice.”
Past experience is of great significance in the PR industry. “Once in a seminar, a student confessed not having confidence on her English standard and writing skills, and had doubt on whether she could gain a position in the PR field. What I responded was that technical skill was not the most crucial part. Agility to react to changes quickly, together with lots of other practical experiences, have to be accumulated through times. You certainly also need a heart with sufficient curiosity, assiduousness and positive learning attitude.
Bokie specially mentioned the opportunities provided by IVE for students to accumulate practical experience. “Once I doubted the frequent assignments of proposals and reports required by the programme. Only after graduation, I realised what I practised in the course was highly applicable at work, and I could do my job with what I had learned confidently. So never say no to these valuable opportunities of studies.”