A career in PR requires much more than a college degree. Although education is always an essential requirement for pursuing a successful career, Public Relations is a different ballgame. Here, it’s sometimes more about what you show rather than what you know that matters.
So how do you know if this is a career for you?
Some questions to ask yourself when considering PR as a career…
Despite how the media often portrays the profession, PR isn’t all glamour and booze and late night parties. If it requires, a PR job can take you to the task and demand a full day of work along with extended work stretches at night. The meetings with clients can be excruciatingly painful for your ego or sometimes it might be quite gratifying. Therefore, you have to get your expectations and preferences right. Here are some of the questions you must ask yourself before making any career decision.
- Do I give a heck to what transpires around me, in my city, state or country?
- Do I flourish working under pressure cooker situations?
- Do I communicate effortlessly with new people?
- Do I have a creative mindset?
If the answers to all the above questions are in affirmative, you can be a very successful PR person one day. But not just yet… Here are the important skills that you must develop in order to have an excellent career in Public Relations:
You got to love writing: You will be doing a lot of writing. Whether it is the media press release, or the in-house monthly magazine or preparing a speech for someone high in the management, you will be required to write an engaging content time and again. Candidates who have an excellent grasp of grammar along with good understanding of different writing styles and can get creative with words are definitely at advantage here.
Being internationally aware: A PR officer with an international exposure is what the companies demand these days. Whether it is in the form of a foreign degree in PR or knowing a second language like French or German, such add-ons are huge advantages. With globalization of business, every industry leader looks to expand to foreign markets and dealing with a public of foreign origin requires the knowledge of their language. So the more languages a candidate has his command over, the better are his chances of getting an international posting and higher position.
Creativity: Associating creativity with just writing would be an unjust conclusion to make. Every aspect of the PR job requires an individual to pull his creative wires, whether it is devising new PR strategies or promoting a business or dealing with a new client. You will constantly have to come up with novel ideas and approaches to beat out the competition and have that edge.
Survival under pressure: PR roles can be incredibly stressful. From handling multiple responsibilities at the same time to coordinating with team members and meeting strict deadlines, a PR officer has to face pressure situations all the time. You will need to be able to multitask efficiently and organize your workload in order to meet the strict deadlines. You will need to be flexible about your work schedule as rarely there are days when you will enjoy the luxury of a normal 9 to 5 job. Most of the time it will be early start and late finishes. Surviving such pressure situations in the early days of your career, is the key to a successful and smooth journey afterwards.
Interpersonal skills: Public relations, is essentially a people’s job. Day in and night out you will deal with different personalities. Whether it is an individual in your team, or your client, the better you are at mixing with people, the more are your chances of getting early success. This certainly is not a job for an introvert. Besides being a good speaker you also need to have good listening ability. A PR professional’s ability of identifying the mood of others, and reading body language will be his best friend all throughout his career.
Saurabh Tyagi is a new media enthusiast with professional experience as a blogger. He keeps an eye on the top employment trends across the world and pens his thoughts for leading online publications on topics related to career, technology and education.