Steve Luquire is co-founder and CEO of Luquire George Andrews (LGA), a public relations, advertising and digital agency located in Charlotte, NC. As LGA celebrates 30 years of business, I sat down with Luquire to discuss everything from his personal journey to what one should expect when trying to break into the industry. In a previous post: A Meeting with Steve. You can read all about his business success and philosophies. In this post, however, you will find his thoughts on what young professionals need to make it in public relations.
Luquire makes the point that not all universities adequately prepare students for real world public relations. Some programs have a lack of professors with personal experience on which to teach students. Internships are a great way to combat this issue. Having an internship is crucial in public relations today. In fact, most entry level positions expect you to have some pervious work experience in the way of internships.
Internships are a must for gaining professional experience. But what if you don’t have the time or didn’t take the opportunity? When pressed for other ways college students can gain experience, he said non-profits. Non-profits are always looking for volunteers to help run their social media, event planning or media relations.
Luquire says there are a few skills young professionals need to possess. “Determination, resilience, patience and the ability to stick with something,” are among the top few. In an age where millennials are said to have no job loyalty, Luquire says staying as long as he did in his first position was the best thing he ever did for his career.
A spark- that is what Luquire looks for in an interview. He wants to see that whatever position you are interviewing for is the position you want. Passion shines through. He also looks to see that you are realistic and open-minded. He is looking for someone to add spice and enthusiasm to his company. Luquire is looking for someone who isn’t narrow. It is crucial to have a broad focus, be willing to learn and have a grasp of what is going on in public relations and the world.
Timing is everything in life.
– Steve Luquire
Luquire stressed the above quote. He states that you should always work hard to get where you want to go even if there isn’t an open door. If you are always working hard, you’ll be much better off when that opportunity does become available.
Luquire stresses the importance of doing research (Luckily I had done mine on him!). Go in to an interview knowing everything you can about the company and the interviewer. Know what services they offer, clients they have, success stories, ongoing projects, etc. In regards to the interviewer, a personal connection can get you an instant in. He shared with me a story of the biggest client he ever acquired while at Craftsman Graphics.
Luquire’s boss had been insisting he visit a potential client on Madison Avenue. Luquire kept putting it off and his boss told him if he didn’t stop in on his next trip, that his boss would do it himself. When Luquire stopped in, he was seated across from the two founders of the company. The two men asked him about his company and then himself. When he stated he was from Durham, NC, one of the men lit up. He asked Luquire who he knew in Durham. Luquire said he knew Duke University’s Basketball Coach, Vic Bubas. Luquire had been a ball boy for the team. After that instant connection, Luquire left with a great deal of work for his company. His boss may not have been as lucky.
The last piece of advice Luquire gives me is the importance of personal notes. He says that he deletes dozens of emails everyday but has never received a personal note he hasn’t opened and read. Personal touches go a long way in the digital age.
For those of you like me looking to join the public relations world in a few short months, taking note of Luquire’s advice will be exponentially helpful. He is a man who truly cares about the profession and encouraging those who are hoping to join it. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, I recommend you take the opportunity.
Post by: Katherine Faulk, CEO
Katherine, a Memphis native, is joining INK PR in Austin, TX upon her December graduation. She has held three internships and various leadership positions on campus. To connect with Katherine, visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, @kattals and connect with her on LinkedIn.
Images courtesy of LGA and ABetterView.com