Before you get involved in PR…

Since starting a degree in public relations, I have discovered that there really is a broad range of career prospects.

If you were considering doing a degree in public relations, or getting involved with the industry, I would like to share the prospects with you, so you can fully understand what you are getting yourself in for.

I just want to quickly share a tip before we start, if you were thinking about getting involved in PR to lead a glamorous lifestyle, and attend posh celebrity events, then stop right now, and pick another career. Why? Because PR is nothing like that.

Many people have grand visions of the PR industry, and while a PR career is worth pursuing, it is important to have an honest view of the realities of the job.

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There are many positives of a job in PR, but there are also some negatives. If you’re considering PR as a career, here is what you need to know:

  • There is a variety of responsibilities. – Once you climb above an entry level position such as an internship, the work load is constantly changing. No two days are the same. One day you will write press releases, and other days you will be on the road with clients. Busy? Tick. Boring? Not the tiniest bit.
  • You will engage with influencers. – Over time you will find yourself engaging with some of the industry’s smartest thinkers, and while it’s pretty heavy stuff, you need to keep your wits about you. Do this by adding smart conversations to the dialogue, and always be respectful of others.
  • There is a lot of writing and communication. – If you are a strong writer, you will quickly stand out in the PR industry. The industry places a marker on people who can churn out compelling content – whether it is for a pitch or a press release. Mix that with a command of the spoken word, especially when dealing with clients, and you will be well on your way to be Jesus of the PR world.
  • PR involves a speedy career trajectory. – If you can walk the walk and talk the talk, then you are more than able to climb up the career ladder relatively quickly in the PR world. Most PR agencies operate as a meritocracy, and the talented can lap others. The pay is a bonus, so being good at PR can be extremely beneficial.
  • It’s a constantly evolving industry. – The tools that you find yourself using today will be outdated tomorrow, especially in the social media field. If you dislike sitting still, and are a pro at learning new ways of communicating, then PR is a great fit for you.

However, like I mentioned before, there are some negatives that could be associated with the PR industry. Here are the top three:

  • There is a high turnover. – In the PR industry, there tends to be a high turnover, especially for many young PR professionals. It is imperative to understand that the team you work with today may not be the same in a couple of months but this tends to be more the case in larger PR agencies. In smaller PR agencies, people tend to stick around for longer because they feel more appreciated.
  • You could deal with fickle clients. – This will ring true for many industries, but particularly in PR. Some clients will simply never appreciate your work, which can be a horrible feeling, but you know what? When it comes to PR, the reward is in the doing of great work. As long as the client isn’t nasty, you’ll be able to hang your hat on your achievements.
  • Office politics. – As there is so much room for advancement, many PR agencies have to deal with a few people who put themselves ahead of the agencies. For them it is all about stealing others ideas and passing them off as their own. But they aren’t worth getting your knickers in a twist over; PR leaders can sniff them out from a mile away. You just need to be yourself and stay ethical, and if you’re good, the rewards will come flooding in.

What I say isn’t the be all and end all, but I wanted to set your expectations about getting involved in the PR industry.

Is there anything you would add to the list? Why not tweet me @HLennox_PR and let me know.

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2 responses to “Before you get involved in PR…

  1. This needed saying (and it’s better coming from a student than a lecturer).

    I’d add one more: you’ll need a thick skin. PR practitioners routinely come under fire from eg journalists but are also being challenged by other business functions (most obviously marketing).

    Part of the value of a PR degree should be in arming you with the arguments you will need (as well as encouraging the necessary toughness) to defend your corner.

    Like

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