Flying into PR

tech pr internship

By Mariah Botkin, Intern

It started like this: I was scrolling through LinkedIn after midnight. Normally, I don’t dare entertain the self-comparison LinkedIn invites this late at night, but I’m in London, so it’s around 8 a.m. in the U.S., the perfect time to look for new job listings.

After a few minutes of scrolling, I came across a post from The Hoffman Agency saying it’s looking for interns. I clicked on Hoffman’s profile, read something about the agency’s emphasis on storytelling and swiftly sent a LinkedIn message declaring my interest.

Then, I turned to my sleepy partner and told him I really wanted this position. “You say that about every job you apply for,” he said. “This time, I mean it,” I said. “How do you know?” he said. “Because they care about STORIES,” I responded like it should make as much sense to him as it does to me.

I’ll be blunt: during my four years of college, I never considered a PR profession.

My entire identity hinged on being a writer first and foremost. I studied journalism and literature and thought nonstop about telling compelling stories that could conjure up emotions and connect people. Between stereotypes, and a hefty dose of ignorance, I didn’t believe the PR industry cared about these things, so I pushed the professional prospect away.

After graduating, I realized several things in my life were missing, like collaboration and challenge in conjunction with storytelling, two things that were waiting for me at The Hoffman Agency.

My life is full of difficult choices — what to wear in the morning, what to eat, if I should adopt a cat, etc. — but hopping on a plane to fly back from London and join The Hoffman Agency in Portland, Oregon, was an easy yes.

I knew I wanted to keep learning after college. I also wanted to challenge myself and, most importantly, keep telling stories. Finding a job that aligned with my values and desires right after college seemed impossible, but Hoffman ticked all my boxes.

After two weeks of PR, I can easily sum up the industry in one word: multifaceted. Public relations is writing-intensive and storytelling-driven, but it is also collaborative and team-driven. No longer am I only calling myself a writer. Now, I am using titles like strategist and team player, as well.

That’s not to say entering the tech PR world hasn’t been terrifying. It is. But it’s also one of the most exciting things I’ve done.

Learning PR and tech jargon poses a learning curve, but it also provides an opportunity to challenge myself and grow as a communicator. More importantly, it supports the things that matter to me: curiosity, creativity and connection, all driven by storytelling.

Over the next few months, I look forward to strengthening my ability to communicate complex topics in digestible ways, building client relationships and learning my accounts’ voices, which is to say, I’m excited to add new layers to the meaning of storytelling.

Joining The Hoffman Agency started with me opening LinkedIn at midnight and sending an excited message. It continues with me sitting in an office, looking over Portland’s hazy silhouette and googling the meaning of machine learning for the third time. I feel totally, completely out of my element — both in terms of PR and tech — but, at the same time, I am beyond grateful I took a leap of faith (and a long plane ride) to begin writing this next chapter of my life.

P.S. After work, you can find me heading to the climbing gym, playing tennis, writing creative stories or curled up on the couch reading a good book (or, as I’ve been doing more recently, tech news).

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