Everyone wants to get into PR these days, tell us Mary Kate, how did you land a job at Rubenstein?
So, interestingly enough, I never had any interest in working in PR. I actually didn’t even know very much about what the industry even was. After graduation, on a whim, I answered an email from the Penn State College of Communications LISTSERV about an open position at an agency in New York. I sent in my resume and cover letter, and a day or so later I had a phone call with HR. That turned into a Skype interview with the head of the real estate department, and about two weeks later, I was sitting at my cube in New York. Turns out, the person who hired me (& is the head of the group I still work for) flagged my resume because not only did we both go to Penn State, but we also grew up in the same town and attended the same high school. Small world!
And what exactly do you do for them?
I’m an account executive in the real estate division at my agency. Which means I work on various internal teams to manage the needs of seven clients that range from commercial and residential real estate owners and developers in New York (and nationally), to architects, builders, and consumer-tech platforms. We write press releases, pitch stories, provide messaging, media relations and strategic insight, work events, manage social media platforms, design campaigns, arrange speaking opportunities, assist with reputation needs/wants, etc.
Now I know that you've been promoted within the organization - congrats! What advice do you have for someone looking to land that promotion?
Go above and beyond at every single task.
Don’t think that you are deserving of anything until its earned.
Be resourceful. Having a question is always okay — if you’ve used your resources to try and find the answer yourself first.
A lot of people think of PR as being this super glamorous job. Is it really?
PR certainly has its perks! Working in real estate in New York is really exciting! One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to tour the model residences at amazing new developments in the city — the views, the decor, the amenities — it sure makes it hard to go back to my closet-sized apartment, but it’s really fun! The firm I work at is also involved with a lot of very iconic New York City events like the NYRR Marathon, New Years Eve in Times Square, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, etc., and getting to assist with events like those is a really unique opportunity.
Got it. Okay, so what's actually a day in the life?
Wow, that’s actually hard to even answer. Every single day is different, and I’m not just saying that. Some weeks one clients needs your attention more, and the next it’s a different one with totally different asks. It keeps you on your toes and makes the days fly by!
Most days consist of lots of writing — which I love because I went to school for journalism. Writing in all different forms; press releases, pitches, briefings, emails, etc. Some of each day is also spent client-facing via email, phone, in person or even on-site & then other time is spent pitching, monitoring coverage, researching, and interacting/arranging opportunities between clients and press contacts.
You're amazing. What's the one thing someone needs to know about getting into PR?
You are going to love it! Make sure you are on a team that will consistently help you grow as a publicist, and develop strong fundamental skills. I remember writing some of my first press releases and getting back the revised version from my boss just absolutely covered in RED from track changes. Needless to say I was horrified. But you get so much better at your job from constructive feedback. And it’s SO important to take advantage of every single opportunity you have to learn from people who have more industry knowledge than you.