Emilita Dela Cruz is an Account Coordinator based in Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from Centennial College and currently works for one of Canadian’s top PR agencies, Argyle.
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How did you break into your industry and how did you advance to where you are today?
I started my journey into PR, during my third year of the Honours Bachelor Public Relations Management program at Centennial College. I did an internship with a fashion/lifestyle agency in Toronto. It was a great opportunity to get exposed to the industry, and throughout the internship, I learned about managing event logistics, media relations, and influencer marketing.
After the internship concluded, I went back for my final year and realized that I still had so much more to learn. I landed a second internship in the summer of 2018 where I worked with a variety of food, lifestyle, and consumer clients. Around the same time, my internship also ended and I was looking to start somewhere fresh, where I could be exposed to areas of PR that I hadn’t experienced yet, and along came Argyle Public Relationships.
It was an exciting shift from my previous experiences, and I had finally found a place that best suited my skills and professional goals. Four months after my final internship, I was hired on as an Account Coordinator with the Health and Wellness team in May 2019. It’s been quite a ride!
What are some important lessons you learned while job hunting?
It’s very easy to feel discouraged while job hunting. Been there, done that. Throughout all the countless interviews and little to no job offers, it can be very exhausting. When I look back, I know that my passion really helped me get through all the interviews that didn’t go as far as I hoped. I kept telling myself that if it isn’t meant to be, then I’m just a few steps closer to an opportunity that will best suit me.
In the meantime, I made sure my resumes and cover letters were always ready to go, and during any free time I had, I did what I could to connect with people in the industry through LinkedIn and coffee chats. It was really helpful having these interactions to gain a better perspective of what kind of opportunity I wanted for myself. It might not be an easy journey but if you’re positive, determined and you’ve got a passion for this career, your time is coming! Just hang in there and keep pushing through and you will find your opportunity to shine.
What is something a new grad can do to bulk up their resume?
Look into volunteer opportunities at industry events that you can use to bulk up your resume. Feel free to reach out to a couple of organizations that are looking for student volunteers. Utilize any resources that your school or professors can provide after graduation. During my time at Centennial, there were many opportunities to engage with the industry.
When I was searching for my first internship, I quickly realized that despite the fact that I didn’t directly have PR experience, I still had some kind of interaction within the industry, thanks to a few organizations that gave me the opportunity to help them with their client events.
What has been your approach to networking?
I found that LinkedIn was helpful when it comes to networking. I did my research and did what I could to connect with people in the industry and set up coffee chats. The coffee chats were definitely my favourite. It was nice having a casual, and open conversation with someone who was willing to share their personal experience in the industry and help answer any questions you might have. In addition to this, attending industry events is great as well.
For student members of CPRS, if there are any networking events that you can attend where you can meet PR pros, I highly encourage you to participate.
What skills do you think a person needs to survive in the communications industry?
First and foremost, you’ve got to be a good communicator with an ability to share information in a clear and concise way, especially if you’re client-facing. Being extremely organized is also essential, no matter where you land. In an agency setting for instance, multitasking is crucial when managing different projects, client needs, and deadlines. Being creative and open to new ideas will also help you throughout your journey.
No matter big or small, you need to be able to voice your ideas and show off your creative flair—you never know where it can lead to! Most importantly, never lose sight of your personal and professional goals. Always strive to identify opportunities that will help you evolve and become the PR pro you are meant to be!
Describe a typical day of work for you. What are your key responsibilities?
Though every day is so different, some of my main responsibilities include media monitoring and creating monitoring reports, research, media relations (building media lists, pitch development, coordinating interviews, monitoring coverage), assisting with the development of communications plans, and participating in client meetings and brainstorm sessions.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that no two days are alike. One minute, you could be drafting a press release, and conducting media relations for a campaign, and the next, you’re coordinating event logistics for a major client event. You don’t always know how your day will play out but it definitely makes agency life even more exciting!
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or experienced at your job?
This year, I was fortunate enough to experience celebrating an exciting milestone — Argyle’s 40th anniversary. It was great to see past and present Argylers come together to share 40 years of Argyle memories, and to see how much Argyle has evolved throughout the years.
What have you found to be the most important thing to keep in mind when working in a team environment?
Be open-minded and respectful. We all have different opinions and we won’t always agree on something but regardless, an open and respectful environment is important and allows people to feel encouraged to speak up, share ideas or voice feedback or concerns.
When working in a team environment, you need to remember how valuable you are as a team member. You’re here for a reason, and people want to see you thrive, have fun and professionally develop.
What are some of your professional goals for the future?
In terms of my professional growth, I would love to develop in a Director position and obtain my APR accreditation when the time comes to qualify.