A lot of college students are working in the service industry to help pay for college. Your restaurant job connects to public relations more than you probably think.
- Think on Your Feet
In public relations we are constantly thinking about the press. You need to be able to talk to people and answer questions on the spot. Most of the time you need to coach people on how to handle the press. Good communication skills is key.
Just like in the service industry, you never know what people are going to say to you and you need to be able to get yourself out of sticky situations. I have had countless times where couples are fighting at my table, people aren’t happy with their food, or they aren’t happy with me. In these situations you will think on your feet and turn the situation into something positive. Just like in PR when there is negative press you have to be able to turn the press into something positive.
- People Pleaser
I have learned over the years working in the service industry that not everyone is the same. You need to gauge each table and find out what their needs and expectations are. Not everyone wants you to talk to them, some people want to get in and out fast. Others want the full dining experience and want you to make it special.
In public relations when sending out press releases you have to know how that particular journalist wants to be contacted. If you are working in a firm you are going to have many clients. Not every client wants the same thing. When talking with them you will find out what they want and how they want to go about it.
- Working Together.
Waiting tables is a lot of teamwork. You can’t do it all and sometimes you need to rely on others to help you, just as you are going to help them. Public relations it is a team effort too. You are working with you client or organization to build their brand. Working with others is a challenge but I believe that if you can work with people in the service industry then you will have no problem in public relations.
- Wearing Many Hats.
If you have worked in the service industry before you will know that communicating with the kitchen staff can be a challenge. The hardest part about this is going into a chaotic, upset kitchen and then having to go back out to the dining room with a smile on your face. In public relations working with crisis is always a big topic. You have to not let people’s words hurt you. Always keep moving forward and be an honest person. After working at a restaurant I have learned how to let things go and not bother me. This is a good characteristic to have in public relations since some days won’t be as good as others when it comes to crisis.
Don’t get discouraged when writing your resume. Being a server has a lot of skills that will help you flourish in your job. Until then keep learning at your current job. It might surprise you how much it will help you in public relations.