The world is full of information sources. People neglect these sources of strategic intelligence and lose time, money, and morale by functioning without information that could be obtained with little effort.
For your own career, I would suggest first of all that you examine several of the bibliographies of public relations already noted. You will find that public relations activities extend over the entire breadth of society. Also read several autobiographies and biographies of public relations pioneers to gain knowledge in depth of the profession.
If I were you, I would then concentrate on the particular fields in public relations that appealed to me most and attempt to saturate myself with knowledge of the profession as it is conducted in those fields.
For instance, if government was my field of interest I would write to federal, state, and municipal civil service bodies and ask them for information about job opportunities in their fields.
If public relations for a trade or professional association appealed to me I would consult the U.S. Department of Commerce directory of national associations. I would seek information from associations that are of interest as to entrance in their fields.
If when I finished my course of study certain questions remained unanswered, I would write to five or six men in the given field asking for answers. These men might be heads of organizations, or professional or trade paper editors, or executives of trade or professional organizations. In my experience a number would respond. If there were differences in their responses, I would extend my inquiry to others.
Now I would know the position I hoped for in the future and would know the road that led to it. It would still be necessary to find the logical or illogical paths to take to get there. I would now pursue my strategic intelligence in another direction. The process includes further research.
- Go to the public library and examine the indices of trade or professional journals in the field you want to enter. If it is business, examine the Fortune and Business Week in-dices. Read up on the company or companies in which you want to become a leader. You will obtain facts about their employment and promotion policies and practices.
- You will find in Ayer or one of the other directories of periodicals the titles of trade or professional journals having the information you want.
- You can follow up with information garnered by further correspondence with trade or professional journal editors as well as trade and professional association executives.
- Write to one of the larger employment agencies that specialize in public relations placement, such as: Henry Schapper, 15 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10017; Jean Cardwell, Cardwell Consultants, P.O. Box 59418, Chicago, IL 60659; Len Daniels, Placement Associates Inc., 645 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022; or Larry Marshall, Marshall Consultants, 360 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10021. 5. Write to the Public Relations Society of America, 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, and the specialized public relations societies of your interest, listed in the appendix of the Society's yearly register.
All this will take time and work, but it should pay off. It is an intelligent way to plan for a career. You will also have the satisfaction of having applied sound public relations strategy and tactics to your own life. You will demonstrate to yourself that you can carry out an engineering approach to your own problem, an approach that you will often use later in your public relations work.