Public Relations Careers: Seven Practical Tips to Help You Make a Name for Yourself in the PR World

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Public relations is a great industry with plenty of wind at its back today. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of public relations jobs will keep growing in the years to come, with a slew of organizations, including businesses, government agencies, schools, universities, and hospitals, establishing their own independent, internal public relations departments. So, if you are interested in having a career in public relations, then focus on arming yourself with the seven essential skill sets discussed briefly below.

1. Develop Your Interpersonal Skills.

In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie notes that anyone who was a guest of Theodore Roosevelt was astonished at the range and diversity of his knowledge. Whether his visitor was a cowboy, a Rough Rider, a New York politician, or a diplomat, Roosevelt always knew what to say. And how did he know? Simple — whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he used to sit up late the night before, reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested. For Roosevelt knew, as all leaders do, that the way to win a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures the most. Likewise, anyone aspiring to a job in public relations needs to be well-read. Whether it’s in regards to sports, lifestyle, or corporate affairs, a PR professional should be well-rounded — and well-prepared to discourse on any given topic.



2. Have a Knack for Writing and Presenting.

A strong command over languages, in addition to good writing skills, is a necessity for aspiring PR candidates.

3. Be Ready for Odd Working Hours.

Late-night conferences, parties, interviews, and events may fill up your monthly calendar. So, if you need lots of personal time for yourself and your family, PR is probably not for you!

4. Be Travel-Savvy.

A PR professional may literally live his life out of a suitcase, because large-scale events might drag him to different places in and outside the U.S.

5. Looks Matter.

As a PR professional, your appearance matters as you are constantly interacting with a variety of people. This is a relationship-oriented job, so unkempt hair, unconventional attire, and sneakers are strict no-nos at the workplace.

6. Have Good Networking Skills.

The ability to network is probably is the most important skill for a PR professional. If remembering names, saving telephone numbers, and writing lots of emails doesn’t sound like much fun to you, then it may be better for you to look for another job.

7. Get the Right Education.

Graduates from any discipline can become PR professionals. There are plenty of courses which impart formal training and can prepare you for a career in PR. Most colleges offering PR courses place their students in internships with PR companies or consultancies for hands-on training. There are more than 200 American colleges and more than 100 graduate schools offering degrees in public relations, most of which offered by a school of journalism or a communications department.

So even if you're caught up in a bland, boring job, do not worry! You can still opt for a career in PR. A variety of courses will arm you with the requisite skills to help you fetch a decent PR job. The median salary for a PR specialist is reported to be around $35,000 per year, though the upper crust of PR pros can earn $71,000 and upwards.

The Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators are two of the public relations professional organizations that offer professional development support and accreditation for demonstrated levels of professional performance. Associating with these organizations will enrich your resume and can even turn out to be a useful talking point during any interviews.

Conclusion

Rest assured, there is and will be no dearth of opportunities for public relations professionals. With the right kind of education, experience, and aptitude, you can easily find a place in this industry.
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