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Account Executive, Schenkein Public Relations

Mo Moorman

What do you do? Developing, planning and implementing account activities are the key elements of my position. I implement daily public relations activities, help establish measurable criteria and deliver results of the programs. In addition, I supervise account coordinators, interns, and support staff projects. What skills are needed? Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills , strong attention to detail , strategic thinking and planning skills, and strong writing and editing skills are crucial to success in public relations. The ability to perform multiple tasks under pressure is also important, as is having a general understanding of the media and some sales skills. What was your major? English with an emphasis on creative writing . How did you get started in your career? I researched jobs that spoke to my strengths as well as to things I enjoyed doing, namely, sales, writing and reading. Then I took an internship here at Schenkein and was hired shortly thereafter. What experience do you need in this job? An internship is the best route to gain the most amount of experience before you actually apply for a public relations position. Every intern that works for us at Schenkein claims that they learn plenty more on the job than they learned in classes at school. An internship is a great way to be sure that this is the career choice for you and give you a clear insight into the daily activities of a public relations professional. Studying public relations is also important, though there are other majors, such as marketing , journalism , and creative writing that cross over quite nicely. After interning, an entry-level position such as account coordinator is usually the first step up the public relations ladder. Describe your "typical" workday: Each day is different and there are always unexpected variables that get thrown my way that I must be prepared to react to. Generally, however, I come in early in the morning and read the papers to stay current on all client-related media coverage. Then I read my email and listen to voicemail. I receive a lot of e-mails ­ about 100 per day, sometimes more. Typical tasks for me include drafting press releases and pitch letters , making several calls to media, and devising strategic plans, all in an effort to gain coverage for my clients. I also manage my clients' budgets and speak with each client on a nearly daily basis to inform them of our efforts and to work with them to be sure all our efforts are focused. I'm also involved with organizing and implementing special events, press conferences and media tours for my clients and provide coaching and feedback to others on my account teams. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Time management . There is a lot on my plate everyday and the better I'm able to juggle multiple tasks, the better I can see each job through to fruition and on deadline. Organizational skills become finely honed in this profession. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? For me, it's exceeding my clients' expectations. Whether it be by landing a story about them in The Wall Street Journal or by amassing an exceptional turnout at a special event, anytime I can knock the socks off my clients by giving them more than they expected, that's when I feel rewarded. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? First, do your research. Know what you're getting into. Then do an informational interview . Do a few. There's no better way to research a field or a particular company than actually speaking with someone who works there. If you have the opportunity to study public relations in college, by all means do so. Finally, apply for an internship and do a couple of these. This is hands-on experience that can't be simulated. This field is becoming very competitive, and a master's degree is probably a good idea if you plan to work in a management position. It will also help you compete against others with similar credentials. Anything you can do to give yourself an advantage should be done.