First of all, what is Public Relations? The Chartered Institute of Public relations has defined Public Relations as ‘the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.’, in other words it is about ‘what you do, what you say and what others say about you’. Reputation is key in this industry, especially if a person or company want to survive and be successful in the field that they are associated with. Over the last few years studying Communication Management and Public Relations it has opened my eyes to Public Relations and how varied the industry is, we may not realise it but it is all around us in nearly every aspect of our lives and adapts to the twists and turns of society. In turn it has made me question myself as to whether I am suited for this career path, and if my personality moulds to this ever-changing environment as no two days are the same.
CIPR created a PR personality quiz which was very interesting and made me really think about my personality and skillset. One of the first questions was ‘Do you cope well under pressure?’ and to answer that I think that stress is very important to me and surprisingly I perform more efficiently, it gets my brain ticking and helps me to stay more motivated to complete a task whether it is completing an essay, studying for test or changing a layout in work with the newest clothes. The quicker I react the quicker something gets done essentially, which is needed for the PR industry as it is so fast paced and invigorating.
Another question which I found very interesting was ‘Are you interested in current affairs?’, with this industry growing and changing every day is essential that I am on top of what goes on in the world we live in and the current trends and issues that are happening around us and on social media especially. As social media is such a big part in my life, and is shaping the future of PR, I find that I am more up to date and aware with everything around me, I am in the now if you will. Whether it be politically or the latest scandal happening in the social influencer community, there is always something catching my eye. This will benefit me as campaigning and marketing is such a major factor and will contribute to my creative streak, in turn enabling me to have quick brain storming skills especially when it comes to advising a client, altering to their needs and creating a more in depth relationship with their audience.
My main form of social media would be Instagram and I feel that it fits well into a lot of PR strategies now days, as it is such a simple and huge platform for self-promotion, increasing brand awareness, or connecting with a chosen demographic as well as other influencers. I love to be creative and I feel the social media side of Public Relations is best suited to me and coincides with the job I am currently in as a ‘Social Media Assistant’, as it is teaching me to think outside the box and attract an audience. As Plannthat.com states, ‘Content is QUEEN’ and it tells a quick and snappy story to your audience, and that is exactly what I want to do.
This relates to another question that is ‘Do you have a creative streak?’, and as stated above I feel that I do but I want to enhance on that, and I feel that having a career in PR could help me with that, as nothing is consistent or the same. Throughout school I was always interested in IT, Media Studies and Art which led me to my chosen course at University, these subjects enable me to create imaginative concepts and promoting. However I feel that a downfall would be my writing skills, I want to be able to grasp an audience whether it be during a press release or a post, language is key and it is within my best interests to portray a positive light on my client and send a message without there being any miscommunication. To improve on this I have started to create blog posts, my most recent one was on FOMO aka ‘The fear of missing out’ and ‘The Rise and Shine of Kylie Jenner’, although both were quite informal I was still able to express myself and my opinions and essentially let myself go, but I am going to focus more on professional pieces to enhance my writing skills and the language that I use.
The next big question for me was ‘Do you enjoy socialising’ and although I love meeting new people and building relationships; which is essential in certain aspects of PR, I am a naturally shy person and can struggle to be vocal. As crazy as it sounds to me, there was a time when I wanted a career as a teacher but due to my personality, I felt that my skillset would not have been put into full effect. So over the last few years my perspectives have changed, and I would love a career where I am behind the scenes and am able to show my true self without any pressure, which is why the social media aspect such as creating posts and content has always appealed to me.
I envy the likes of Cathy Martin (CMPR) who is such a vocal character on social media and compels so many people to view her posts and watch her stories. I click on to her icon straight away when I see she has posted because she is such a vibrant character and can promote a brand or send a message without it feeling cliché or forced. Herself as well as many others are an example of ‘Good PR’. She comes across as very relatable and connects with so many people, which persuaded me to get in contact and do an internship with her and see first-hand the industry I could potentially become involved in. Although in my GCSE year at school I went to a PR firm for my placement, it was not a very good experience as I was just the young person sent to get coffees and file paperwork, so I felt that going to Cathy Martin would be an eye opener. I was there for 3 days and although I felt out of my comfort zone at the start, I was made to feel welcome and was given plenty of work to do, especially with the Belfast Fashion Week approaching. I was mainly given the task of social media activity, such as following people, liking posts and reacting to mentions, which was all pretty straight forward. As the next few days went on myself and other interns were able to create outfits for the fashion week, which really let my creative streak flare. Although this may only have been a small part of PR and the way Cathy works, it was still very informative and fast paced, therefore further influencing my opinion on this career path.
Like anyone they want to do a job that they love, and I want to get as much experience and insight as possible before I enter the PR industry or any industry for that matter. It is such a dynamic environment and although that can be daunting, I like a challenge and want to push myself in order to get involved in career that I know is ‘me’. I was able to easily answer questions about myself, but it is now a matter of proving that I can fit into an industry that never stays the same. To attract employers and show myself professionally I am setting a few tasks for the next coming months:
- Posting more blogs on the Ulster PR blog website (more professional than informal).
- Becoming more active on social media and making it a respectable network.
- Firing up my LinkedIn account to help increase my visibility and create my personal brand so employers can understand who I am professionally.
All of these are simple yet effective and with it being my final year I want to ensure I have the qualifications and the image to help me get into my dream job.
Chloe Light is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-light-358421172/ and Instagram @Chloe_lightbulb