Jumping into the public relations industry can be daunting, especially for recent college grads. After working in public relations for over a year now, I’ve learned many new skills that go way beyond the classroom .In college, I took a few public relations courses, giving me a general sense of the industry but not nearly enough hands-on experience. Fast forward to over a year and a half later and I’ve been able to grow as a public relations professional with the help of a strong and supportive team. These tips for entry-level public relations professionals will help you build professional knowledge and make a good impression in your first career.
No two days will be the same. Public relations is a fast-paced industry and we wear a lot of hats for clients. Things are always changing and there are many unknowns. Because of this, work often takes on many different shapes. Whether it’s media relations, writing, research or social media, there are many moving parts that keep our daily work interesting and exciting. There are many unique opportunities in the public relations industry that provide a variety of experience and there is always room for creativity, relationship-building, learning and both professional and personal growth.
Learning never stops. You cannot except to come in on your first day and know all there is to know about your clients and their work. Improving your writing, building relationships and maintaining your drive to learn can help you gain as much experience as possible in your first public relations career. There are opportunities to learn from everyone around you, whether colleagues or clients. Reading industry blogs, connecting with your peers and attending industry webinars or conferences are great ways to stay up to date. The more you work with your clients, the more you will learn about your day-to-day contact, their messaging, preferred styles and more.
Ask questions and seek advice. Whether you have a question about a client, a specific term or a concept, the more questions you ask, the more you’ll learn. All clients are different and have individual needs and desires and it is important to seek advice when in doubt. LCWA is full of public relations professionals that bring a diverse background and have been in the same position at some point in their careers. Chances are someone else has had a similar question and guidance is essential for helping not only the client but you grow as a PR pro.
Effectively manage your time. While colleges do not offer courses on time management, I believe it’s a must for every public relations professional to learn and effectively apply daily. Having the ability to prepare, plan and execute day-to-day activities is essential to ensuring you are maximizing your time and offering clients superior service and work. Creating to-do lists and keeping your calendar updated to help keep track of assignments is very beneficial.
Working in a PR agency can be exciting and fast-paced. If are prepared to use these tips, you can turn a first job into a rewarding career.