College grads get advice left and right; everyone from their college professors to their parents want to weigh in on how they can enter the workforce. But who better to give you advice — specifically about entering the public relations field — than people who work in that market?
Here we get valuable advice from PR pros.
Be Prepared to Dedicate Yourself to the Role
If your idea of a public relations job includes coming in at 9 and leaving at 5, you’ll be in for a shock, says Seana Norvell, Public Relations and Social Media Manager at TiVo.
“Being a good PR person means being completely dedicated. Be prepared to work and be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week because that reflects today’s news cycle. Anything can happen at anytime and you will need to be prepared to be thoughtful, strategic and helpful at a moment’s notice.”
Manage Expectations and Minimize Disappointment
Clients want the moon, but you won’t always be able to give it to them. Rather than disappoint them, Mark Haviland, Director at MediaGenic Communications , says: “strive to under-promise and to over-deliver. Carefully chosen words are the currency of public relations and managing expectations is the bond that develops relationships.”
Own Your Industry
Just out of college, you likely won’t have a specific industry you want to provide PR for. But choose one quickly, advises Brian Mcmanus, Global Analyst Relations Director at Amdocs.
“Specialize in a vertical, finance, tech, etc. Get domain expertise and soar.”
Even if you don’t feel you know an industry well, simply reading industry blogs and publications can give you an edge when applying for a job. Start your own blog and share your insights on what’s happening in that vertical to establish thought leadership.
Develop a Tough Shell
Elizabeth Yekhtikian, Vice President of Media Strategy for InkHouse Media + Marketing, wants entry-level professionals to know that rejection is a large part of a PR pro’s job.
“You need to be able to handle rejection–a huge portion of your job is pitching reporters. You need to be able to shake it off.”
It may sting the first few times you get your pitch rejected or ignored, but strive to develop a thick skin so that it’s easier for you to get back to pitching.
Find a Mentor Early
One of the best ways to learn the ropes in PR and get valuable advice is to find a mentor.
Suzy Bauter, an Independent PR Consultant working with Fortune 10 executives in the San Francisco Bay area, says: “Don’t be afraid to ask someone high profile in the field to mentor you. Chances are, if you do ask, you will be rewarded. I had a couple of great mentors early on and I have been rewarded with the opportunity to mentor a few young people myself.”
The key to getting your first job in public relations is to be open to where your journey takes you. You might not get hired as a Public Relations Manager just out of college, but if you heed the advice given here, you’ll quickly rise up the ranks.