Letter to My Younger Self: Christine Hoek

The blog post you wait all month for is here-PR current and future pros reflecting on their careers and lives in “letter to my younger self.” This month we feature Christine Hoek, owner of Articulate Communications in Hudsonville, MI.

Dear Eager Beaver,

Don’t be afraid to have fun and laugh.

Each day is a gift. It is. Look around and see those who can’t or are not able to do what you can and represent them, be the one who takes the world by the tail. Somewhat cliché, yes. True, yes. Because by truly giving, and giving it all, you will receive more than you can imagine.

Give it your all, but don’t lose yourself to 60+-hour workweeks, deadlines, or post-grad work. Realize that life is full, balance is required to survive, and those who don’t understand that (particularly agency and big company types) won’t necessarily promote it. Now, balance doesn’t mean not working hard. Definitely work hard, set goals, and kill ‘em. But, don’t lose yourself, your personal relationships, or hobbies you love to your work.

Achievement, it really does include failure. Failure often leads to a different path than one you would choose, it also leads to different experiences and opportunities.

Key tips:

Get involved and be active.

  • Be a leader and a follower — both are required in life.
  • Join groups that enhance your profession as well as yourself — organizations such as PRSA or the Chamber of Commerce, a book club or a volunteer group.

Read everything.

  • Some internships require that you make photocopies … not too exciting, if you just stand there. Instead read what you’re copying. Learn from it: and if you see a typo (they do happen), show it and help fix it so the people you’re working with are represented well.
  • Ask … just ask. If you hear of an interesting meeting or a professional networking opportunity, ask to be included. The unfavorable answer would be no. Not everyone thinks like a teacher, but they are more than willing to include you if it’s appropriate and they are prompted.

Try a variety of jobs.

  • While in school, seek jobs that fit with your overall goal of what you’d like to be when “grow up”. While waitressing brings in cash, it doesn’t necessarily fit with your desire to work in public relations. Seek a job that provides office skills, organizational skills, writing skills, social media skills, sales, customer service, etc.

Seek to learn about each area of Public Relations you are interested in.

  • Meet with a reporter to gain a better understanding of his/her perspective
  • Meet with a designer to understand what’s needed to launch collateral materials.
  • Find a social media guru and discuss strategies for planning materials.

Ask professionals in your area of interest to go out for coffee or lunch.

  • Interview them about their company, their career path, the best interns and resumes they’ve experienced. Make your time with them worthwhile.
  • It’s fun, and oftentimes the person you invited will purchase the coffee or lunch … they know you’re not breaking the bank just yet.
  • And remember, ask if they’d recommend other professionals in your field with whom you could contact using their name, and be sure to take note of the contact info given.
  • Be sure to handwrite a thank-you note. Don’t send an email. The real note will stand out.

It takes 20-seconds of courage

  • That’s all it takes. Being a wallflower, especially in PR, doesn’t work. However, most of us have experienced those moments where we really didn’t want to interact. Make yourself. You end up feeling better, and chances are the next time you’ll have even more courage.

Give without expecting to get.

When volunteering or lending an extra hand, realize it’s just that. Sometimes you’ll get recognized or rewarded, but the real reward comes from giving without expecting. And, don’t forget to give back. Many people will help you to achieve your goals, help someone who is just starting out — “pay it forward”.

Be the example.

Like in school, you’ll always run into people who aren’t professional, kind, or interested. Realize how these people made you feel or represented the public relations profession and be determined to act differently. Set a positive example.

7_16_Letter to My Younger SelfBy Christine H. Hoek, APR

Christine Hoek is owner of Articulate Communications, which is based in Hudsonville, Mich. With more than 20 years of agency and consulting experience, Christine has worked with a variety of clients in a wide range of industries.

Christine is a nationally accredited public relations professional, APR, and she has her Master’s degree in communications. Over the years, Christine’s work has merited several awards including a national Silver Anvil and Practitioner of the Year.

Connect with Christine via email, christine@articulate-pr.com or visit her on LinkedIn.

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