#MyPRJob

#MyPRJob – What Skills do I Need?

In another installment of #MyPRJob, I’m going to be talking about what skills you need. See I never really – truth be told – knew what would be expected of me in a PR career, nor did I know what kind of skills I’d need to make it in the industry.

PR is a tangible area and the skill sets you may need will vary, but here are some of the main skills you need to develop in order to be a PR success:

Confidence

It’s always important to be confident, but even more so in PR. They’ll teach you this in your studies and practice you through presentations and speeches but you’ll really be put to the test when you start working.

Talking more from an agency than an in-house position (but I’m pretty sure the same idea is loosely fitted to both), you’re going to need to be confident in yourself and in your brand when talking to clients and telling them what you can do. This doesn’t mean you need be the most confident person in the world and a dab hand at public speaking, but knowing how to handle yourself in situations which may require you to come out of your shell a little is certainly a skill in PR that wouldn’t go a miss.

Not only this, but a big part of PR is the networking so you need to have the confidence to be able to talk to people you don’t know – and quite often. You may also be required to attend events in which you must articulate yourself in the same manner, so confidence is always essential in this. If you’re not confident at first I wouldn’t worry – neither was I. My confidence grew through university and throughout working within PR. However, if you’re a set in stone introvert then you may want to consider whether this career is right for you. There’s plenty of other options for you, going down the digital route would slash the amount of face to face networking and presenting you’d have to do, so that’s always an option.

Changeability

If you’re studying PR, you should know by now what a fast-paced, ever-changing industry it is. Therefore, you need to be able to adapt with it and be an individual who is open to both change, and changing environments.

Not many of us really like change, but if you’re really resilient then this may be something you’ll want to reconsider moving forward as ultimately, PR is an industry which requires one to be as flexible as they possibly can be. If thats not your thing then you may need to reconsider your career choices. Never say never however because a lot of things within working in PR can be negotiable and one of the things I’ve always found working in agencies is that if you have a comment to make, it’ll always be heard out.

Creativity

In a post that is beginning to sound like ‘the many C’s of PR’ – creativity is another on the list.

You probably are aware of this already, especially if you’re pretty far on in your studies, but creativity is crucial in this industry as uniqueness is what drives interest. We all have a creative flare in us, but some of us need a little extra work to coax it out. If you’re really interested in PR but are feeling a little unprepared for entering a career which operates on the backbone of creativity, then here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Write down your ideas on the notes app on your phone or even on in a diary, sometimes our most creative thoughts come when we’re not expecting them so always make sure you’re on hand to trap them before they’re forgotten about.
  2. Start a blog, as this really pushes you to be creative and think of ideas so that your content is always frequent and interesting. What more, a PR orientated blog is always a big bonus when you’re applying for jobs.
  3. Keep up to date with whats going on, especially on Social Media. This is because some of your best ideas can come for Social Media campaigns, especially for your own social outputs.
  4. Its also not a bad idea to keep up to date with the news and see if there’s interesting topics you can create content around (you may have noticed that i’m very in to doing that on my blog)

Creativity is important in PR for thinking of original ideas for blog content, landing pages, features that will go out to press and social media outputs. The more creative you can be, the higher the engagement – so make sure you’re always channeling your inner creativity.

Time Management and organisation

Breaking away from the ‘C’ theme, the last on the list of crucial skills for PR is time management and organisation.

This is because, to put it bluntly, PR is hard work and keeps you on your toes – therefore you need to be on top of your game and be able to manage yourself and your time effectively.

I always find that PR agencies will have some kind of software which will help you manage your time, and see all of your tasks in front of you to make sure you’re always meeting deadlines. Some personal organisation on top of this is never a bad idea either though.

I always make use of lists and to do’s at my desk and make sure i’m crossing things off as I go along, this means I can always see exactly where I’m at and how much i’ve got left to do which is so incredibly helpful when it comes down to managing my time effectively. Always make sure you’re prioritising too, you don’t want to be chiselling away at a task, only to realise you had a deadline due in on the day that you hadn’t even started. Calendars can help you keep track of time, but ultimately – you have to find what works for you.

2 thoughts on “#MyPRJob – What Skills do I Need?”

  1. Great post Jessica – and thanks to Mark P for flagging it up. I’d add another necessary characteristic which is crucial in PR but is often in short supply: the ability to listen. Too many people in our profession think they have to perform for and instruct their clients and others, but it’s much more important to get under the skin of the brief, of the brand or organisation, of the client themselves. And to do that we have to shut up and open our ears. As we used to say, one mouth two ears, and use them in that proportion.

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