CAREERS: My Big Break - Ten years ago cracking into PR wastough. Not unlike today's economic downturn, agencies were announcingmajor layoffs in 1991-92. Getting a foot in the door required a dose ofcreativity

I decided to throw a Hail Mary to one of the biggest names in the industry, Buck Buchwald, then vice chairman of Burson-Marsteller. I did some research, and knew that the man with a demanding reputation would require more than a solid resume, so I wrote a provocative pitch letter, which began with a confession: "I've been practicing PR without a license. In quiz-like fashion, I highlighted my previous government and non-profit jobs that were PR-driven, hinting at their respective names, and leaving it to the reader to guess the correct answers.

I decided to throw a Hail Mary to one of the biggest names in the industry, Buck Buchwald, then vice chairman of Burson-Marsteller. I did some research, and knew that the man with a demanding reputation would require more than a solid resume, so I wrote a provocative pitch letter, which began with a confession: "I've been practicing PR without a license. In quiz-like fashion, I highlighted my previous government and non-profit jobs that were PR-driven, hinting at their respective names, and leaving it to the reader to guess the correct answers.

Somewhat reluctantly, Buck agreed to an interview. In his way, he tried to determine if I was a sound investment or full of hot air. He grilled me on the three most important skills every PR pro must have - strong writing skills, love for dealing with the press, and, of course, the ability to work under pressure.

Four years ago, I left Burson and started my own PR firm. I'm honored to be among countless others who received their "big break from Buck.

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