The PR Boutique recently sat down for a Q&A with Texas A&M PRSSA for advice about entering the job market, particularly in the public relations field, and the lessons that they’ve learned throughout their careers. Here’s a look at some of the tidbits we had to offer!
What are the best ways to get involved while in college?
Join an organization like PRSSA – this is a great first step, but don’t be afraid to branch out. For example, join a club focused on something you’re passionate about and act as the public relations director. You will have the opportunity to practice real world skills in a setting with a learning curve.
Apply to relevant internships as early as you can. One of the best ways to learn is through real-world experience with great mentors who are willing to help you grow. Whether you are a public relations intern in-house at a company, an intern at an agency or interning for public relations niches like event planning or working for an influencer.
What’s your advice for students about to graduate and look for a job?
Be proactive. If your dream company doesn’t have a job posted online, inquire anyway. Even if they don’t ask you to bring your resume to the interview, make sure to bring it just in case. After your interview, write a thank you note or a thank you email to show your interviewer how much you appreciate and value their time. Do what you can to stand out among other applicants, because that extra step can really set you apart.
Play up your strengths. Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses. While you want to show that you are capable in all facets, it is important to highlight your strongest skills. If you’re a great writer, provide samples of press releases, and if you’re great with social media, provide samples of social media calendars and data showing how you’ve helping increase followers and engagement on accounts you have helped with.
What has been the hardest part about PR?
In public relations, especially in a Houston PR agency setting, you are communicating with many different types of people and working with clients in many industries. You have to push yourself to adapt to scenarios you are not used to and become an expert in every field.
Because every account is different, it is important to push yourself to think outside the box. Keeping up with trends and staying on your toes can help you think creatively whether that’s in regard to social media management, media relations or influencer marketing. Even within a certain account, you have to brainstorm creative ways to position them to the media in order to keep the story fresh. While this can be one of the most challenging parts about the industry, it can also be the most fun.
What are some valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Being able to prioritize is one of the best skills you can adopt. No day looks the same as the day before, and new things are constantly being thrown at you. Keeping a to-do list and staying organized is vital when you are covering a variety of services such as media relations, social media management, client relations, event marketing, influencer marketing and community involvement – all for multiple clients!
Communication is also an extremely important part of your role in PR. You have to be able to clearly and effectively communicate in order to keep everyone on the same page. Let your clients know where you stand on certain project so that nothing falls through the cracks. PR works best when the communication is a two-way street. Public relations is an exciting, ever-changing and diverse field, which means there’s no one perfect way to do things. Whatever you do, be enthusiastic, maintain polite and constant communication and do what you can to stand out among other