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How To Get That Public Relations Job
I was inspired to write this Hub, following a good friend's adventures in getting a Job in Public Relations. Readers of Hub pages might be surprised to discover that some of the skills needed for being Public Relations staff overlap the skills for having a successful online presence.
A good Third Level Education with either Bachelor's degree or Masters is obviously essential. Having a sound understanding of how Public relations works is also a prerequisite. Like all jobs you need a relevant qualification, but more so, you need to know when to take advice and when to ignore it. Public Relations takes study and hard work, but the slog is worth it. Some will warn you it is not for the faint-hearted. But never feel down-hearted by the knowing that this work brings you close to many other professions. If you are willing to tough it out, this is work that can reap big rewards.
The PR Personality
Hints for working in Public relations:
Don't be a Wallflower.
Be very net-workable.
Be aware of Social Media.
Multitasking is your forte, or else quit.
Good writing skills - have them.
Smile and be nice a lot.
Have a thick Skin.
Have Experience in dealing with people.
Any knowledge or experience in Journalism equals "you might fit in here nicely".
Punctuation and grammar must be top notch.
Good Public Speaking skills essential.
Know Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook like your family members.
Prepare to accept criticisms.
When you work in Public relations, you will spend most of your job dealing with the media. And that means a lot of people and businesses across every kind of platform of communications.
The more the candidate knows how to utilize the internet and social media - the better. You are the liaison between your company and the outside world. One word out of place and you are toast! The firm's image and how it projects in to the world is down to you.
So PR is tough to get started in. Some new starters don't stick it for very long. Those that do are fast learners. Any person who has aimed for a tough career to break into, yet which yields a high return - will have seen that Public Relations has proven to be challenging, but very rewarding as a career. It's simply a matter of taking the next step.
Just what skills do you need besides the ones listed above? In academia you will learn among other things, Marketing Communications, Business Communications, Social Skills, Writing and Campaign planning, and Finance.
In the UK, to be CIPR credited (Chartered Institute of Public Relations), students are required to study finance, since many will go on to form their own businesses afterwards. Finance is essential to that career path. Public Relations is a Professional accredited Qualification now in most parts of the world, especially the USA, where PR skilled workers are in high demand.
A Salary in the USA for Public Relations staff typically as a median figure is $52 K to $65 K. Many companies will pay more than that based on your experience. And there are approximately 7,200 PR businesses in the USA alone.
So, to approach this line of professional work, first asses your skill set. Do you have what it takes? If you are for example already studying Advertising and tired of it, perhaps you need to ask some people familiar with PR if it might be better to jump into PR. If you have a Journalistic slant on things but don't quite fancy being in the media - again Public Relations could be your forte.
After you have written an Oscar winning resume and that CV shines like a bright new button extolling your achievements - and you have also got an Online Resume somewhere - like on LinkedIn.com - it's time to apply for jobs.
Your Social media Bio on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn or whatever - should have your information, and a link to your resume. This is how jobs applications are becoming now, more and more web-based. By proving that you are not only findable online but net-savvy - helps you even more. Perception is everything in this business.
Use traditional and social media research to check out companies or agencies you want to apply to. A lot of work in the UK for PR is with agencies. Learn how this business works. Don't approach it coldly as though you are a fish out of water.
Some half of all New Hires in the USA are a result of someone you know or are networking with. Who you know is just as important as what you know, for when it comes to job hunting. And companies will look at 200 resumes before giving that position to that one candidate. So prepare for lots of competition. And employers check out your online status and background, because no one wants to hire a jerk. Would You Hire You?
So after all this, would you still work in Public Relations? In the USA, expect universities there to offer Public Relations courses as more Student Enterprise opportunities, given how Education there is a breeding ground now for the next Industry innovators and student entrepreneurs. We are talking about turning students into the next Larry page, Serge Brin or Mark Zuckerberg. In America, students are encouraged by the public and private sectors to take what they learn in a field of study, and take it to a Business level. Here is what my friend told me after a few months working in a UK company and earning a good salary - with a down payment on a home already planned...
"Are the stories about the hardships in finding work here true? Yes. Some people have to do internships now, but I tell friends to stick with it. There are close similarities to advertising and that is a kind of sales area. You are selling a company to the customer or to someone else. What I do is probably closer to marketing now. But...is Public Relations worth doing for a living? Yes. It's high demand work. In a few years when I have the experience and connections I will have my own business."
Getting that Public Relations job is tricky and tough. But for the most determined candidates, the effort is well worth it. The work is basically consisting of the art and science of you making a company, media outlet, firm, Entertainment Personality, Government or NGO look good. Everybody needs to have a good image nowadays, no matter who it is. And having PR staff with skills and experience makes them look better. Given the current dip in the popularity of some industries recently - and taking into account the fact that some people need an IMAGE makeover, working in Public Relations is the place to be. If this is the kind of work you feel comfortable with, now that you know more about it - give it a shot! Spread the word! Good luck in finding that job in Public Relations!
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