Public relations jobs focus on people and can be conservative about the people they hire, sometimes more so than other types of companies. Nonetheless, if you want to move from PR practitioner to PR manager, here are several things you should do to ensure success.
Mentors and Clients
First of all, you'll need a mentor (or several), and you'll need to keep using mentors who know what they're doing so that they can help you build your own success, too. It helps to have someone who's not your boss or direct supervisor that you can ask questions of when you might not feel comfortable doing so otherwise. Second of all, you should take pains to please your boss, of course, but you should also show that you can anticipate clients' needs by understanding their businesses. Not only is this going to be pleasing to clients, of course, but it's also going to show that management that you are ripe for a promotion.
Public relations jobs also require that you know new media like Web 2.0, the Internet in general, and so on. That's because although traditional media like print is certainly still viable, the Internet and social networking, as well as other Web-based communications applications, are where it's at when it comes to growth. So, public affairs jobs necessarily are going to have to focus on new media as much as they do old.
Develop and Execute a Strategic Communications Plan
What's the difference between a PR manager and a PR practitioner? You can see the big picture if you are a PR manager, and you can also help dictate where that picture is going to go and how it's going to develop by filling in the details and sketching it out yourself. So for example, you could oversee a pro bono project to show what you can do and therefore move into a management position once YOUR management knows what you can do.
Project Yourself into a Management Role
If you have a lower position but you know you could do justice to a management role, see what you can do to put yourself there. If you haven't been at your current company long, of course, establish yourself in your present job and show what you can do. If, however, there's a higher position that is open and you know you could do it, go in to make your case. If you have a good track record with clients, and if other team members and media like you, you may just get a chance to prove yourself.
Make Everyone around You Look Good
Of course, you need to make yourself look good. But one of the most important things for any manager to do to make himself or herself indispensable is to make everyone else look good because of what he or she does that's positive for the company. If you make everyone around you look good, your chances are better for promotion — and by the way, promote yourself, too. Let it be known that you want to move up, and it's likely that for most PR marketing jobs, you will get your chance to do so.