Monday, November 17, 2008

Get A Personality

Throughout my years as a student, I've heard teachers and practitioners alike ask students why they want to enter the field of public relations. And much to my dismay, the answer usually involves the term "people person." Why do people believe that in order to be successful in the realm of public relations, they must describe themselves using this vague and unimpressive term?

Urban dictionary defines a "people person" as "someone who has no discernable skills." While Urban dictionary may not be the definitive source for word meanings, no one wants to use a word with this connotation to describe themselves, especially when seeking a job within the field of public relations.

According to Patricia Zonta's article, there are many character and personality qualities that make a person well-suited for a career in public relations. Anyone who is creative, tactful, energetic, optimistic, respectful, ethical, or honest possesses qualities that would be an asset in the public relations field.  It takes all types of people to make this world work, but some personality types are found to be more beneficial for work in public relations.

The Myers-Briggs Personality-Type Indicator  shows that the following types of people are very well-suited for a public relations career:
  • ENFJ also known as The Giver
  • INTJ also known as The Scientist
  • INFJ also known as The Protector
The U.S. Department of Labor--Bureau of Statistics notes, "Public relations specialists must show creativity, initiative, and good judgment and have the ability to communicate thoughts clearly and simply. Decision-making, problem-solving, and research skills also are important. People who choose public relations as a career need an outgoing personality, self-confidence, an understanding of human psychology, and an enthusiasm for motivating people. They should be competitive, yet able to function as part of a team and be open to new ideas."

It takes a person with a variety of "discernable" skills to be successful in public relations, so don't sell yourself short. You can do more than just talk to people, so make sure that people know how valuable your skills are. The most important thing to remember is to choose the skills that come most naturally to you and begin further developing them. The more skills you develop, the more desirable job candidate you will be. Quit being a "people person" and start becoming a person that people want to employ. 

Kristin McDonald

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