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Tough Love in PR

Rule # 1: Don’t be weird. This is Steve Ward’s first rule in his VH1 show Tough Love, a boot camp for women who have personal problems finding a significant other. Ward says if these women follow his rules, he guarantees he will find them love.

I was watching the season premiere (a little inside information — I’m really into reality shows) on Sunday when I realized that maybe the tough love advice Ward gives to the nine women on the show can apply to all public relations students seeking a job.

Ward says he is going to give these women a “heavy dose of reality” on what they’re doing wrong when it comes to relationships. Then it hit me — many PR students, including myself, need help when it comes to employment. A lot of students, much like the women on the show, need tough love.

In episode one of the show, Ward teaches the importance of first impressions. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says Ward. “In the unforgiving world of the male perspective,” first impressions are extremely essential. His advice applies directly in job interviews: first impressions are vital in the unforgiving world of employers.

On the show, Miss Body Issues has self-confidence problems. Ward advises her “a guy is never going to be convinced in you when you’re too busy convincing them why not to be.” The same applies to students in an interview: an employer is never going to be convinced to hire you when you’re too busy convincing them why they shouldn’t. You need to be confident in yourself; otherwise, you’re going to look like you either don’t want the job or you have no idea what you’re talking about.

You can guess the issue by her name: Miss Gold Digger. So, how does it apply to PR? Just like men want to see women more interested in the relationship and not the money, employers want to see you more interested in the experience, not the money. Having low-paying jobs (such as nonprofit) or unpaid internships on your resume looks good to employers because it shows you put effort into something substantial that may not financially reward you in return.

Okay, so a lot of the issues the women have on the show don’t necessarily relate to students’ issues. However, it’s fun to watch, and most of the women’s problems coincide to real-world issues. There are many more women to cover, such as Miss Wedding Belle, Miss Lonely and Miss Off Her Rocker. You can go to the Tough Love Web site to find more of Ward’s rules, and to try to figure out the connection between these women and students in a job search yourself. I’m excited to see what “guerilla tactics” Ward has to give his tough love to PR students in next week’s episode.


By Niki Gautier

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