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July 20, 2020, by Leah Sharpe

5 Things You Need to Know If You Want to Work in PR

By Ella Hendrix, writer and entrepreneur

Public relations (PR) is a stimulating, fast-paced and highly rewarding career that will demand a lot from you but give you plenty back in return. Before you start firing off emails for internships or training opportunities, it’s important to understand exactly what will be expected of you in this career.

Here are five of the key things you need to know about working in PR:

It’s not all glitz and glamour

Most people associate the PR industry with glamorous events, meeting important people and networking with a glass of champagne. But it’s almost never like that. Most of your time will be spent in meetings, writing blog posts, and designing media strategies, not socialising at parties. Even if you do end up at events, they’re unlikely to be as you imagined. You and your team will be responsible for ensuring that every single aspect of the event runs smoothly from setup to finish. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of hard work involved, but it is all worth it.

Crises happen

A significant part of your job will be handling any public relations crises as and when they happen.

“A faulty product, a fatal accident on your premises, fraud, funding problems, a public dispute with a regulator – the list of events that could undermine public confidence…is endless.” say independent communications consultancy, Pagefield.

As a PR professional, you will need to keep your cool, meet the problem head-on and get it resolved as quickly as possible. This isn’t always easy. Solving these crises can be stressful and time consuming. Having said that, there’s nothing like handling a difficult situation effectively and helping your clients move forward.

You need to be ‘on’ all the time

You’ll need to be responsive all the time, even when you’re not officially working. On top of this, you’ll often find yourself working unsociable hours, including evenings and weekends. You’ll need to keep your phone switched on, check your emails regularly and be willing to drop everything if a PR crisis happens. As you can imagine, this can make it more challenging to have a ‘normal’ social life or commitments outside of work. That’s why you must bear this in mind before you commit to this career. If you’re happy to make these kinds of compromises, make sure you take steps to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burning out.

Rejection happens. Often.

PR is a highly competitive industry at every level so it’s important to develop a thick skin and be willing to put yourself out there, even if it feels like you’re not making any progress. If you get rejected when you apply for your first internship or first job, don’t give up. Keep pushing forward. If a journalist ignores your emails, keep going and don’t take it personally. By working hard, taking the good with the bad and staying confident, you’ll stand out, inspire trust in others and soon see the results of your hard work.

Networking will help you go places

If you want to get ahead with your PR career and expand your knowledge, it’s vital that you make connections with people inside and outside of your industry. Ask lots of questions and reach out to as many colleagues and mentors as you can. By doing this, you’ll gain a better understanding of how your company works, how the industry works, and you’ll also benefit from each person’s unique skill set. Most people will be more than happy to help, especially when they see how motivated and enthusiastic you are. You should also attend as many networking events as possible, introduce yourself to lots of people, and make plenty of connections. You never know where these might lead.

Don’t forget to use social media to help you grow your digital network too. It’s never too early to start even if you’re still an undergraduate. As Prospects careers website says, “Your social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are still an excellent way to connect with businesses and show that you are keeping up to date with the industry.” 

When you use your social profiles effectively, you could attract the attention of prospective employers, build knowledge and connections and give yourself a head start in the industry.

For those with the right personality, talents and drive, careers in PR can be the perfect choice. If you’re willing to face rejection, deal with crises as they happen, network hard and be ‘on’ 24/7, you’ll go far. Good luck! 

 Find out more about working in PR

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