When considering a career in the Public Relations industry I believe there is a few important questions you must ask yourself before diving into a career in PR. Due to the fast paced, forever changing, and high-pressure environment you will be working in you must have an acquired skill set, hold a great level of determination and drive to prosper within the industry.
The first question I would ask myself is…
What is PR?
Well much to the dismay of many people it does not involve being responsible for promoting nightclubs across social media nor is it attending lavish events and living this glamorous lifestyle that the media portray a job in Public Relations to be.
One of my favourite definitions of Public Relations is one from the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) which states “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Public Relations is essentially all about reputation and relationships which is something we touched on in our lecture about PR, Rhetoric and Persuasion in week 2.
Am I interested in what is going on in the world around me?
Having an interest in current affairs and reading about what is happening in the environment around you is a very important aspect of a PR practitioners job as they regularly analyse trends and brainstorm campaign ideas with various clients daily. Therefore, being informed and knowledgeable about what is happening in the world around you will set you apart from others.
What does a job in PR involve?
A job in PR can be quite varied and diverse depending on the company you work in so it’s hard to specify, although the ability to be a flexible, highly organised individual with the ability to work under pressure and possess excellent written and communication skills is a must.
So, with the above questions in mind. How do you go about increasing your chances of employment in this field? I thought I’d share some of my own personal top tips to help anyone that is considering a career in Public Relations!
For an excellent discounted rate of £35 annually for students the Chartered Institute of Public Relations will provide you with endless opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge of PR to help you climb further up your career ladder through providing courses to attend, achieve chartered status and hosting events with likeminded individuals who you will have the opportunity to network with.
Follow Key PR Influencers/Blogs
Getting involved in the world of online blogging by reading, commenting and sharing PR related blogs online. Check out PR Week, PR Daily, PR News Online and follow key influencers on Twitter for example @CIPR_UK, @PRstudies, @BobPickard and @pracademy to stay abreast of the latest news!
Get your foot in the door – offer yourself up for paid/unpaid internships in local agencies to get real life experience of the job because when you start a career in PR you will automatically be expected to know how to write a press release, develop a campaign strategy, plan an event, liaise effectively with journalists and so on. This is also a great way to determine whether the job is for you or identify areas in which you would like to specialise.
Public Relations Courses
Enhance your CV with a PR qualification – there are plenty to choose from both online and face to face through the PR Academy. These CIPR accredited courses will provide you with working examples to give you a more thorough understanding of the industry.
The ever-changing nature of the PR industry means passion is key to success. Stay abreast of latest news, get involved and prepare to be forever learning!
Nicole Hanna is a final year BSc student in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://goo.gl/pLviS8 or on Twitter @NicoleHanna101