By: Lauren Purisky, Account Executive for PSU Residential Dining
Public relations is a competitive field. With thousands of college graduates entering the job search each year, it can be extremely challenging to break into the professional world. However, if you can demonstrate some desirable skills, you will garner serious attention from potential employers.
Have you ever seen a desk that is completely overloaded with Post-It notes and To-Do lists? Maybe just the thought of a desk so cluttered that you can’t see its surface makes you anxious or maybe that imagery describes exactly where you’re sitting right now. Either way, organization is one skill you must possess to make it in this field. PR people consistently have multiple projects to work on at any given time, so the ability to keep everything straight in your mind, and on your desk, is essential. For some people, this means creating countless folders on their computer and for others, it means simply labeling each document correctly. Whatever method suits you best, be sure you master it.
- Time Management
What goes hand-in-hand with organization? Time management. This skill is especially important in the agency world. Being on several account teams all with different deadlines can be overwhelming for some, but the ability to make a schedule and stick to it will help tremendously. You can block time off on your surface calendar or set alarms on your phone to remind you when to switch gears. Just like organization, you can choose a plan that fits best with your work style and you’ll be forever glad you did.
- Strategic Thinking
Working in PR, it is inevitable that at some point in your career, someone will come to you asking, “What do I do?” You need to be able to think on your feet and provide that person with a professional, effective answer. From crisis and reputation management to in-house practices, this can happen in any setting. One way to practice your strategic thinking skills is by evaluating undesirable situations that are discussed in the news. Think to yourself, “If this was my client, what would be my plan of action?” You’ll get better and quicker at creating solutions for all kinds of professional dilemmas.
Since public relations is such a cutthroat field, its successful practitioners have high levels of determination and drive. This may mean staying late so you can produce top-quality deliverables and working through lunch in order to make a deadline. Anyone who has even interned at a PR agency knows that these situations can be regular occurrences. But remember, if you’re not willing to do it, your company could find five other people who are ready to take your place. Prove to your supervisor that you are willing to go great lengths to put forth great work for your client and not only will you impress him or her, you’re setting yourself up for potential promotions in the future!
People who work in public relations are expected to be constantly researching information that will interest their client. From reading newspapers each morning to monitoring media activity throughout the day, you must always have the desire to know more. This way, your tasks won’t become tedious; they will keep you interested no matter how many years you spend working in PR.