Landing your first public relations job can be difficult, and getting started in this industry can seem intimidating. After attending all the right classes, studying all the right material and interning at all the right companies (like Dittoe PR), you’ve checked all the right boxes. While you may consider yourself a PR novice, it is often the unteachables that will allow you to make an immediate impact in the PR world and give you the confidence to take the industry by storm. Whether you’re switching careers or recently graduated, consider these tips to help you set the foundation for a successful PR career.
- Check your attitude.
Walking in the door on the first day, you’re faced with an abundance of training material, employee handbooks, company paperwork, and a sea of tasks to get you acclimated in the new role. You may not be able to control feeling overwhelmed, but what you can control that is a vital to your career? Your attitude. Show that you’re ready to learn all the ins and the outs of the company and eager to immerse yourself in the work. A positive, determined and enthusiastic attitude will not only help instill self-confidence, but also trust in your ability to juggle the many demands of public relations.
- Research EVERYTHING.
The most effective way to get a feel for the company, its clients and overall approach toward producing results is through research. That includes absorbing every aspect of company websites, vigilantly reviewing previous material created for clients, and carefully studying the content covered in local media. Research can help you with every assignment and ultimately gives you an advantage in the PR field. Research everything from your clients’ industries to reporters’ alma maters – you’d be surprised by how a tiny bit of information can lead to the perfect pitch that will garner national coverage.
- Know who you’re talking to.
Every client is different. Every reporter is different. Every team member is different. Everyone and everything is different, and it is of the utmost importance you remain conscious of that at all times. Whether you’re drafting an email, writing a press release, or pitching to local media – it is crucial that you are aware of who will be on the receiving end. If your client is a government-funded organization, your communication should always be professional and clean cut. Don’t pitch an evening event to a sunrise reporter. Instead, personalize your pitch based on the specialties of a particular writer. Even your coworkers favor specific writing styles and templates when submitting content. The quicker you learn these differences, the quicker you’ll find success in your career.
- Say the Magic Word.
The fastest way to gain experience in PR is by saying one word: “yes.” Can you draft a client email? Yes. Can you write a media advisory? Yes. Can you brainstorm pitch ideas? Yes. This tip comes with great responsibility, as you do not want to take on more than you can handle; however, be willing accept as many assignments as possible that will expose you to the different strategies your company offers. Soon you’ll start recognizing cues of when to draft certain material, all the while refining your skill set. Coworkers will respect your work ethic and you’ll gain a better understanding of each client while learning to prioritize your to-do list.
- Thank EVERYONE for EVERYTHING.
A thank you goes a long way, especially in the PR world. Whether it’s to a team member, reporter or client – taking the time to send a quick thank you can do wonders for your career. A thank you shows that you respect the time and work of others and helps build relationships. A little appreciation goes a long way and often times gives you an advantage when future opportunities arise.
PR is demanding, challenging and occasionally chaotic, but utilizing these tips will offer a smooth transition into this fast-paced industry while separating you from the competition and laying the groundwork for a prosperous career. If you’re interested in a career in PR, check out our Careers page.