Why Millenials are Hardwired for Success in PR
Millennials are 20 year olds who are lazy, narcissistic and always glued to a screen – or so that’s how Joel Stein described us in his recent Time piece, Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. But as Stein progresses through the piece, he shows how these seemingly undesirable characteristics can lend themselves to redeeming behaviors. He closes the article with a balanced, positive depiction of my ilk:
Whether you think millennials are the new greatest generation of optimistic entrepreneurs or a group of 80 million people about to implode in a dwarf star of tears when their expectations are unmet depends largely on how you view change. Me, I choose to believe in the children. God knows they do.
While only time will tell if we are the “new greatest generation,” I can certainly tell you that we make great PR people. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to spin this — but it’s important to look at the characteristic traits of millennials and how they relate to PR skills as we arguably make up the biggest bulk of the PR industry’s “boots on the ground.” Here are a couple traits that I think translate very well to the PR industry:
- Innate understanding of how branding works – Objectivity and industry knowledge is clutch to branding and presenting your client to the outside world. It comes naturally to the group that knows how to create a digital identity better and faster than any other generation.
- Sense of entitlement – Our clients want to be in the best of the best (name one client that hasn’t demanded to be in the Grey Lady), and we get that. Why settle for anything other than greatness? Though valuable in any industry, I think it serves PR folks and their clients particularly well.
- Earnest, optimistic attitude – When the going gets tough, the tough get going. A good chunk of us walked out of our undergraduate commencement ceremonies without an employer’s door to walk into – but we were hopeful, persevered and achieved results. This is what defines a good “proactive pitcher’s” outlook on life.
We’re not perfect though and still have lots of room to grow as our own fearless leader, Todd Deffren, notes in his PR Daily post, “Open letter to millennials—PR industry edition.” Todd offers great tips for how my generation can minimize the visibility of our “swarmy qualities” and outshine them with our rock star capabilities to land and secure a successful career in PR.
It will be interesting to see how we judge generation Z (or whatever those kids are called these days). In the meantime, I’ll be doing this little coverage dance because a 2 second refresh-rate is too slow for me.