This is a guest post by Kelly Donovan.
Ah, the allure of public relations—having the media’s ear, planning parties and getting to be a high-paid hotshot.
At least that’s the image some folks have of people in the PR profession. The reality isn’t always so glamorous, of course, but the PR industry is growing and can offer a rewarding career.
PR professionals are known for their work in securing media coverage, handling crises and enhancing their employers’ and clients’ images, but the profession also encompasses an ever-expanding array of practice areas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020—faster than the average for all occupations.
So how do you tap into this growing field?
Here are three steps I recommend to land the PR job of your dreams.
1. Develop sought-after PR skills.
A variety of skills are important for a PR practitioner (Pete Codella listed five good ones here).
As a former journalist who later worked in PR, I think it’s critical to understand how media operate so you can interact with them effectively. If you don’t have media experience, do your research and get to know journalists (when they’re not on deadline!).
In addition to media savvy, it’s important to have a strategic mindset. Taking a class in PR strategy or even marketing or business strategy will be advantageous. The PR profession has matured and now places a strong emphasis on strategy and results. PR campaigns that win awards are highly strategic.
Newer skills that have become essential for PR practitioners are social media and web skills. A company’s communications no longer need to be filtered through traditional media, and a PR pro needs to be ready to deploy the latest tools.
Whether your degree is in public relations or astrophysics, professional development is crucial for developing your PR knowledge base and staying current on trends. Gain ongoing training through the Public Relations Society of America or the International Association of Business Communicators.
2. Network, network, network!
PR is a relationship-based profession, and building professional relationships is the No. 1 way to advance in the industry.
Don’t think of networking as a chore; it’s about forming meaningful, mutually beneficial connections with the people you meet. Your networking contacts in the PR industry will be your source of job leads and referrals.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t rely on advertised job postings for finding a PR job (or most jobs, for that matter).
3. Promote the heck out of yourself.
If you can’t promote your own brand effectively, employers will question whether you have what it takes to promote their brands (or their clients’ brands).
That means you need to put in the time to identify your personal brand, develop a strong social media presence, and write a stunning resume.
Job seekers in other professions might get away with average, run-of-the-mill writing if they have good qualifications, but to compete in PR, your personal marketing materials need to rock.
What else should PR pros and aspiring PR pros be doing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks Jerry Silfwer for the great photo on Flickr.
Written by: Kelly Donovan
Tags: Job Search | PR hiring | PR jobs | public relations
Categories: Finding New Job