If you want to get your break in the PR industry you should first understand that there are numerous types of public relations, from tech, legal and fashion to entertainment, beauty, and healthcare – and each one operates a little differently. If you know which branch you are interested in – fantastic, but if you don’t, here are a few tips that apply to all branches.
If You’re Not a PR Major, It’s Not a Major Problem
Because being successful in public relations requires a range of skills, it’s not a huge issue if your major is in something else. In fact, it can sometimes be useful. PR professionals need to be proficient writers, have analytical skills, understand how business works and much more. The important thing is to be able to relate your skills and background to public relations.
Personality is Often More Important Than Experience
Of course, no one expects you to know everything as soon as you begin your career and every company will provide training in its approach. But businesses typically want to see that you’re enthusiastic about PR, sharp and eager to learn. Meaning that in most cases, personality and basic skills are often more important than experience, especially if you’re applying for an entry level position.
Hone Your Writing Skills
Almost all PR careers involve quite a bit of writing. Whether it’s a pitch to reporters about a new product, a press release about an event or anything else, you’ll probably spend some time on the writing. PR professionals help to establish their clients as trusted leaders in their particular industry – they do this through compelling stories that help to bring their message to life. Organization, relevance, and creativity play a huge part on whether a reporter will pick up your story. Make sure you’re familiar with AP style writing – this is a particular writing style that’s used by journalists and PR professionals.
Remember to Network
It’s a huge part of the PR industry. Make sure you’re comfortable connecting and talking with a variety of people. The digital age has improved this for PR professionals, so be sure to join relevant groups, sign up for professional social networking sites like LinkedIn and get involved in discussions. It’s also important to go to industry events and seminars to connect with others and even get some one-on-one time with industry leaders.
Take Care of Your Online Reputation
Almost all potential employers will Google you so you should maintain a positive online reputation. Make sure you’re familiar with the privacy settings on your social media accounts. It’s also beneficial to share some of your work online. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a personal website, blog or portfolio etc, but it will help to showcase your skills.
Obtain an Internship
You’ll learn a lot at school, but it doesn’t compare to hands-on experience. No class can fully prepare you for the fast-paced environment that often requires quick thinking, multitasking, and accountability. Having some experience from an internship will improve how you look to employers and give you a better feel for the industry.
Josh Nass is a public relations executive and sought after crisis communications specialist. He regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC and other leading media outlets to offer his expert commentary.