A PR Fuel reader recently wrote to ask if I had any advice for someone looking to start a career in public relations. Of course I do!
First, take some time and figure out if you have the patience for public relations. You have to be able to handle rejection (i.e., story pitches) and you have to understand how to handle clients (i.e., people who sometimes don’t use common sense).
Second, if you don’t possess strong communication skills, find another career. That means written communication and verbal. This sounds pretty obvious, but you would be surprised by the awful communication skills exhibited by many in the public relations industry.
I would first look for a growing boutique public relations agency that handles the type clients that you’re interested in. If you want to work with tech companies, don’t go to a firm that handles retailers, and vice versa. I don’t believe the big agencies are good places to start careers because you tend to get lost in the mix, and it will be more difficult to find someone willing and able to mentor you. A boutique PR agency that is growing its client base usually signals a solid core of professionals who understand the business, Successful entrepreneurial types tend to be better teachers than corporate executives.
The concept of public relations is evolving quickly, and younger workers are much in demand. Sometimes that’s because they’re cheap, and sometimes because they have a “newer” skill set. I know many people in the public relations industry who love their jobs, and they routinely point to improving day-to-day communications between their company and the public as the most gratifying part of the job.
This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.