So you want to break into PR?
It is fair to say that working within the public relations sector can be an extremely rewarding career with thousands of opportunities across many sectors. But it is not as exciting as it looks in the ‘Sex and the City’ series, in which PR professionals can be observed going to lavish events and ‘fraternizing’ with celebrities. In fact, most PR work consists of attending briefings and brainstorming sessions and sitting indoors behind a desk, whilst making phone-calls to journalists and writing press materials. Of course, it is not all ‘doom and gloom’ as we make it out to be, sure, it can be as we mentioned above but why not try to break into the PR industry and see how it works with your own eyes.
Do you need a PR degree?
The answer to this question is: NO, you don’t need a PR degree to work in PR. There are quite a few reasons, while a PR degree seems to be a valuable asset while trying to break into PR, there are also a number of reasons why you do not need to have this kind of degree. Many PR professionals with whom we were able to conduct interviews, confirmed, that a good PR degree allows students to make contacts, learn techniques of persuasion, how to write press releases and get to know other useful PR skills. However, there are countless examples of people who began a career in PR without any knowledge of the industry, having a degree in completely unrelated disciplines or not having a degree at all. If you are motivated enough then there is no reason for you to fail to break into PR.
How to break into PR?
Well, there is probably no many other ways for you to get into public relations than to get ‘first hand’ experience. Having an internship will help you understand the ultimate goal of PR profession and sector in which you will get a chance to work. Because PR is so diverse and there are a number of sectors you could potentially end up working in, work in public affairs may be totally different from work in celebrity PR sector; remember to rethink, which sector you may be most interested in. There are several websites on which you can find interesting internship opportunities. The most popular are the Guardian website, PRCA, CIPR, Work4MP, try LinkedIn, Twitter, Fashion Interns and many others.
Important tip: not every PR agency advertises internship opportunities. Some agencies may be eager to take you if you contact them directly by email or even twitter. If you are interested in a particular agency, why not try to contact them and see whether they are currently looking for an intern. Believe it or not, this method really works!
What skills do I need?
Probably everyone with a bit of experience in PR would say that working in public relations requires good communication skills, both verbal and oral. To be successful you must be able to communicate with others without any difficulty because you will spend most of your time writing press releases or emails, as well as making phone calls and presentations. So this is the basic skill. Concerning other skills, opinions on this matter is divided among PR professionals . Some say that you must enjoy networking and keeping up to date with current affairs; some say you must be able to multitask and divide your time efficiently; some argue that nowadays PR pro’s must have knowledge of social media, video, and photo editing. In fact, there are over 1 billion results if you type “PR pro skills” in Google search, well then, arguably, every PR job requires different sets of skills. So do not get discouraged if you read ‘one of those’ articles online, which list basic PR skills and you perhaps do not have them all, because each one of these authors will always have different opinions. If you just stay strongly motivated and positive then breaking into the PR industry will be a piece of cake!
So good luck and, if you can, let us know how it went for you!