Thinking about a career in Public Relations? If you are an excellent communicator, great multitasker and an out-of-the-box creative thinker, this could be the right career for you! But you’re not alone. Jobs in the PR industry are incredibly popular and highly competitive. So, how do you stand out in the crowd of applicants? The following tips should help you get your foot in the door…and isn’t it catchy that they all include the letter “P”?
1. Be Prepared
Don’t worry. No one will expect you to come to your first job interview with a long list of media contacts and all of the answers. That being said, there is a lot you can do to prepare. Learn as much as you can about the company you are interested in working for: their clients, their specific industry, their company culture. They will be impressed with your genuine interest and intelligent questions. Plus, these are the skills you will need to research editors, bloggers and event venues.
2. Be Proactive
Figure out what you want and go after it. Send your resume and an awesome cover letter to an agency you’d love to work for even if there aren’t any current position postings. Ask for an introduction through a LinkedIn contact. Inquire about internship opportunities. (This one is key!) Employers, especially PR employers, will appreciate your go-getter attitude and enthusiasm, both qualities that will be important throughout your career.
3. Be Persistent
Don’t give up. This might be the most important piece of advice. Learn the delicate balance between persistence and pushiness very early on. Follow up, but don’t be a stalker. This mindset will not only help you land your first job, but it will prepare you for media relations and vendor negotiations moving forward.
4. Be Polished
From your resume to your attire to your Facebook profile picture, use every opportunity to represent yourself well. A future employer needs to be confident that you will be the best possible representation of their clients or their brand. Make that easy for them by always being conscientious about anything that reflects you or your work. And after an interview, send a handwritten thank you note. It’s classy and makes a great impression.
5. Pitch Yourself
PR is all about the pitch – finding the most relevant and interesting information and turning it into a compelling story that fits the outlet. You may not have the most experience or the longest list of contacts, but let the employer know what you will bring to the job and why you’re a great fit. Self-confidence and excellent communication skills are key attributes of all successful PR professionals.
6. Be Prepared…again!
Once you land the position (congrats to you!), be prepared for the job itself. No PR job, especially your first PR job, will be exceptionally glamourous, so don’t get the wrong idea. With every fun editor lunch appointment and celebrity-attended launch event comes hours of time spent assembling media kits, updating press lists, scanning clippings and creating reports. Don’t get me wrong – it’s an incredibly fun and rewarding career, but definitely be prepared for all of the hard work that happens behind the scenes. Good luck!
Amy Aust | PR Rep