7 Steps to Start Your PR Career With a Bang

When you navigate the choppy waters of the PR world, you have to be the press and the person that deals with the press all at once. This can be a tricky juggling act if you’re just beginning to spread your wings in the PR world. Luckily, with the right attitude and preparation, you can build yourself into a PR powerhouse.

1. Join The Public Relations Student Society of America

The PRSSA has over 10,000 members and even more opportunities for anyone aspiring to be part of the PR world. Once you’re a member, you can interact and learn from PR pros all over the world. The PRSSA can also help connect you with potential internships and job interviews.

2. Follow Brands You Admire

PR experts Weber Shandwick advise that you start following your favorite brands on social media. Following your favorites not only helps solidify your online presence, it provides you insight and inspiration. In the communications world, following trends and messages you admire can ignite the best ideas you could ever have.

3. Stretch Out of Your Comfort Zone

Many new grads are used to showing up for class at 10, taking their time finishing projects, and spending free time at the quad or local bar. Agency life is nothing like that. Weber Shandwick points out that prioritization skills, writing, and extreme attention to detail are more important that creative flair or a bubbly smile. If you don’t know where to start, Mind Tools offers free time management resources that can be applied to most professions. If you can stretch outside your comfy regimen, face your fears, and manage all aspects of your life, you’re almost ready to take a plunge into the real world.

4. Build Your Brand Collateral, Keep it Sharp

From the perfect dry cleaners to business card printing, you are your brand. Your portfolio is always a work in progress, and you are an extension of your portfolio. You need to be conscientious of the way you build your online following– and what you have to show offline. PR expert Andrew Worob tells Higher-and-Higher.com that the best way to master the PR game is “Don’t. Ever. Get. Complacent.” Apply this doctrine to your business cards, social media profiles, wardrobe and networking habits.

5. Learn How To Master the First Impression

Business Insider points out that only seven percent of what we think of people is based on what they say. Furthermore, within seven to 17 seconds, the person you just met has already made up their opinion about you. Whether you’re at a networking event or a major interview; be ready with a warm smile, firm handshake, eye-contact and a confident tone. You could be the best person for the job and lose it to someone with better face-to-face poise.

6. Once You Land a Job, Be Conscientious

PR powerhouse Jayme Soulati advises not to get comfortable just because you landed a job. That’s only the first step. Soulati warns that you must be very careful what you post, tweet or even comment on during work hours. Even if the company you work for is aware of your“outside projects” or personal branding ambitions—leave them out of your 9-5 routine.

7. L.E.A.D.

Jody Koehler, influencer and author for RaganDaily, shares his best advice for newbies: L.E.A.D, or “Listen, Experience, Ask and Dare.” He recommends new hires grow their ears as big as possible—learn from higher ups, owners, and everyone they can. Then, experience as many roles and chores as you can, you want to know how the agency works. When you have a good handle on it, start asking questions. You want to gain all the information you can, so you’re ready to “dare” to take a step and make a difference. When you’re at this point, stop and remember that your “daring to make a difference” is why you were hired in the first place.

Meaghan McClellan is the CEO of a small PR firm on the East Coast. She loves running with her dogs on the beach, sailing and reading about the tech industry.

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