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Do You Have a "PR Personality"?

Personality Analysis

This is a guest post by Alison Kenney, a Boston-based independent PR practitioner with over 15 years of experience in the field.

In today′s tight labor market, employers want PR pros with the whole package:  strong writing skills, a convincing presence and the ability to make things happen.  That someone is typically a person with lots of confidence, energy, enthusiasm and ambition — someone who shows a lot of initiative and drive to meet and exceed goals.

The Meyers-Briggs Personality-Type Indicator

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shows that people of the ENFJ (Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging), INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging), and INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging) types are very well-suited toward a public relations career.

"People of this type [ENFJ] "¦create goodwill and"¦ tend to be: friendly, outgoing, and enthusiastic; affectionate articulate, and tactful; highly empathetic but easily hurt; creative and original; decisive and passionately opinionated, productive, organized, and responsible. The most important thing to ENFJs is their relationships, and the opportunity to communicate and connect with others".

The US Department of Labor′s Bureau of Statistics states that, "Creativity, initiative, good judgment, and the ability to express thoughts clearly and simply are essential. 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 open to new ideas."

But even if you don′t fall neatly into the Myers-Briggs Personality profiles mentioned above, think about which traits you do possess and which other "PR" characteristics you can develop and hone through practice.

There are multiple kinds of PR jobs, all with different functions and requirements.  Consider:

  • Some PR pros develop a specialty based on their job function.  For instance, expert writers are highly sought out for their ability to craft speeches, turn technical language into an instructional document or develop web pages with dynamic phrases.  PR folks with a strong writing bent may not need to rely on their "working their room" skills as much.
  • Publicists, or people in celebrity PR, don′t want to overshadow their client.  Among other traits, they are sought after for their fast reactions and around-the-clock availability, their ability to control situations and get through to specific reporters when needed.
  • Agency PR staff must hone their client service skills, including empathy, organization skills, analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • PR professionals who are creative thinkers and display curiosity, the ability to adapt and to think on their feet are valued for their content contributions to team members and others in their department.

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Even if you think of yourself as introspective or shy, you may be successful in PR.  It′s a matter of understanding yourself, your capabilities, the demands of the job and the role you want to play.

Alison Kenney is an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience.  She is based on Boston′s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries.  She can be reached at alisonkenney at comcast dot net.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk
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