A career in public relations promises dynamic work full of variety. Chances are, if you like storytelling, connecting with people, and expressing your creative side, this is the perfect profession for you.
But just like any profession, there are certain skills required in order to get hired and succeed in a PR firm. Whether you are a new grad looking for your first PR job or someone who just wants to make the switch into PR, here are six essential skills to include on your resume if you want to get hired at a PR firm.
You will have a hard time finding a job description for any career in PR that does not have “communications skills” on it. Building and maintaining positive relationships is one of the most important tasks in PR, which is why effective communication is vital. While the state of the world’s current affairs has forced many companies to work from home, changing the nature of communications, its importance is greater than ever before. With interviews, meetings and even events taking place virtually, having strong communication skills is key to standing out whether you’re trying to get hired at a PR firm or are working with a client.
Public relations is a fast-paced and ever changing industry. At the drop of a hat, the external or internal environment can change. Some examples of environmental changes could be new trends, advances in technology, or even a global pandemic. Changes like these require PR professionals to have flexibility and adapt or pivot strategies in order to keep their client’s brand awareness high. After all, the only thing constant in this life is change. How we handle that change is what really counts.
Flexibility is also important in other areas that may not be as global as the environment. You could be giving a presentation to a client and the electricity may go out. People start panicking a little, you must investigate the problem, figure out how to fix it and keep the conversation focused on the topic being presented. Mistakes happen and not everything you plan is going to go perfectly. It is important in moments like these to have flexibility. The ability to adapt as well as the ability to keep a cool head will take you far in your PR career.
Throughout your PR career, you will likely find yourself handling multiple projects at once, especially if you work at an agency. When juggling several project deadlines and projects where other people are depending on you, time management is key. Time management is the process of organizing and prioritizing tasks in order to be more effective. The ability to achieve time management skills is very important in the fast moving and busy environment of public relations.
One method of effective time management is to make a list of activities needed to be accomplished, organize that list based on importance, then schedule a certain amount of work time per activity. When completed, cross the task off the list for a sense of accomplishment.
It is also important to schedule time for yourself that is unrelated to the task at hand. Taking a moment to relax and reset will help with critical thinking for when it is time to complete tasks. If your time management skills need a little more help, here are 27 tips to effectively manage your time.
Research is an essential public relations skill and the backbone of producing great work. Not only is it important to be knowledgeable of what you are talking or writing about, but conducting research also ensures that your work is credible and accurate.
When planning an event or a campaign, it is critical to know everything possible about the client in order to represent them as accurately and positively as possible. It is equally important to conduct research about the audience, so that captivating them and fulfilling their wants comes effortlessly.
Research will also assist with staying up to date on the latest market trends, competition and technology. From writing a blog post to planning a new PR strategy, adequate and efficient research will contribute to performing with confidence and ease. And who knows, you may even learn a thing or two.
It can go unsaid that writing is one of the most fundamental public relations skills. From press releases to blog posts to pitches, writing plays a role in many of the day-to-day tasks of PR. And though lots of current PR content is gravitating towards visuals like videos and images , words still have immense power. The platforms writers are using may change but the need for quality writing will never go away.
Practicing different writing styles can help you improve your writing skills, find your own unique voice, and help you to communicate with your audience or clients in new and creative ways. If you are just now starting a career in public relations, chances are your writing skills may not be as advanced or polished as your colleagues. However, like any skill, writing can be improved on and there is tons of content out in the world specifically designed to help you become a better writer. Here is a list of books that can help you improve both your writing style and your process.
Since the rise of social media, it has become an excellent source of both reach and information for public relations, making it a crucial PR skill. Through social media, trends are able to spread like wildfire, people are able to connect across the globe with ease, and there is more opportunity to promote than ever before.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram changed the future of marketing and PR in an interesting and powerful way. Consumers not only control trends on social media, but through social media they have a voice. Each social media platform has its own way of operating and its own audience to consider, and PR professionals need to be well-versed in all of them.
Having a social media strategy and presence has increasingly become more important to companies and the need for social media savvy professionals continues to grow. New platforms are popping up everyday, response times are faster than ever before and with more people looking at their phone, there is more opportunity to bolster the company name.
About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a marketing and communications intern for Swyft, which has been listed as one of the best PR firms in Austin and a top digital marketing agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft has satellite offices where it offers PR in San Francisco and Houston.