As an industry, public relations has experienced our fair share of PR. Popular TV shows like “Mad Men” and “Sex and The City” have bolstered PR’s reputation as a career path lined with celebrity parties, free swag and other VIP perks. While many of us do frequently work on cool projects with major brands and some very interesting people, the day-to-day PR grind is a little more nuanced than that.
Whether you are just starting your career or planning to make the leap into PR from another field, here are five ways to know this is the right industry for you.
Do you enjoy developing relationships?
There is a common plague among PR executives when it comes to hiring in our industry: Any good PR person is probably going to ace their interview. Whether we’re the right fit for a position or not, it’s just what we do. PR professionals are natural relationship builders and we know how to communicate. We are adept at connecting with our clients, media, community partners and other key players. Being able to find common ground and build trust with someone quickly is critical here. So, if you panic at the thought of networking or making cold calls, this may not be the industry for you. But if you enjoy making connections and cultivating relationships, PR could be your calling.
Are you a lifelong learner?
Our industry is in a constant state of evolution. As media and societal views change, so do our tactics. A strategy that worked six months ago may not work today, especially in the world of social media and digital marketing. A good PR professional is always adapting the way they reach different audiences by exploring new avenues, so it is important to be a self-starter when it comes to broadening your skill sets.
Do you thrive in high-pressure environments?
Whether you are working in-house or at an agency, you will likely be thrust into a fast-paced, demanding environment that requires you to think on your feet and come up with solutions that are creative, efficient and high reward – sometimes on a limited budget. In fact, Public Relations Executive was ranked one of the top 10 most stressful careers by CareerCast in 2017. And while we are constantly reminding our team that “it’s PR, not ER,” there is some truth to that ranking. The PR team usually gets one of the first calls after a crisis occurs, and reputation management can easily run beyond normal business hours. Outside of crisis management, clients look to their PR representatives to control communication with their most critical audiences, so our clients’ brands are always at stake based on the work we do. The ability to embrace a stressful situation instead of caving is essential.
Are you willing to push boundaries?
This is a competitive industry and cookie cutter just won’t do in the modern world of PR. If your idea of a successful PR campaign is simply paying for a press release to be pushed out over the wire, you might consider a different marketing function instead. PR is about finding new ways to connect with people, and there’s almost never a one-size-fits-all solution. Smart PR professionals take the time to learn about a client’s goals then develop a plan from there. Those who can think creatively and back their decisions by data and real results will perform best in PR.
Do you have a passion for communication?
Writing and message development are at the core of everything we do in PR. Every brand has a story, and it is crucial to be able to tell it in a way that resonates with their audience. While communication skills can be honed and developed over time, those destined for a career in PR typically have a natural knack for creative, tactful storytelling—or at least the desire to share stories in unique ways. With so many types of PR, you may be best suited for public affairs, nonprofit communications or another focus area. But a true passion for communicating will always be key to enjoying the work you do each day.
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