As a young professional myself, I have learned a lot about the public relations industry during my short time in the field. Unlike the spin-doctors we read about in our textbooks, PR professionals are actually honest, hard-working folks. With that said, like every profession, PR has its quirks. However, despite its pitfalls, nothing is as exciting as landing the perfect job with the right PR firm.
Here’s what I’ve learned about PR thus far:
▪ Caffeine is crucial. According to Ragan’s PR Daily, PR is the second most caffeinated profession. PR people are always on the go. Therefore, if you have time to walk to your local Starbucks and grab a venti iced coffee, you’re ahead of the game.
▪ Get to know your industry. It doesn’t matter if you are in consumer, technology or social media—take notes. Every client meeting is an opportunity to gain valuable industry knowledge. This will not only help you better serve your clients, but it will also make you more marketable.
▪ Don’t be afraid of hard work. Margaret Thatcher once said, “I don’t know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work.” The same goes for PR. If you’re looking for an easy, 9-to-5 job, choose another profession.
▪ Treat others how you want to be treated. I know, so preschool. But I read an article on how PR women are just grown up mean girls. With the industry now predominately women, it’s no surprise that you’ll run into a few ‘mean girls.’ Try not to get caught up in the cattiness and you’ll be fine.
▪ Spell-check is your best friend. In this age of spell-checker, it’s inexcusable to have spelling or grammatical errors in your press releases. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. Have a second pair of eyes read over your work when possible.
▪ Respect your clients. Treat your clients like business partners rather than residual income. This will benefit your company in the long run. Plus, nothings better than having a client refer another business to you.
▪ Social media is changing the way we do everything. The industry as a whole is becoming more reliant on social media. From pitching journalists on Twitter to generating a Facebook campaign, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with social media tools.
▪ Do what makes you happy. Thanks to social revolutions like Occupy Wall Street, young professionals are now more determined than ever to find what makes them happy. If I’ve learned anything in PR, it is to find a company that makes you happy. You’re going to spend a lot of your life working, you might as well enjoy it.