Are you a student considering a career in public relations? Do you think you have what it takes to succeed? Delving into the world of PR sounds great, but what will it take to stand out with so many qualified professionals out there? Here are a few important characteristics that will help you thrive in this highly competitive industry:
- Adaptability: In recent years public relations has changed drastically. Social media has forced an expansion in the role of PR practitioners. The emergence of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube demands that PR practitioners use social media in outreach strategies, whereas just a few years ago this was not the case. Because of this digital revolution, PR pros now have even more mediums at their disposal, which can be strategically used to reach their audience. For the younger generation of PR pros, this may not be a problem as they were born into this technological era. But for the older generation, adaptation is key. Learning how to use the resources at hand, managing social media and learning quickly are the keys to success. The world is evolving rapidly and PR pros have to be flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing needs of brands and consumers. With the rapid increases and improvements in technology more change is sure to come, and it will come quickly.
- Sound Communication Skills: For a PR pro, being able to communicate your ideas efficiently, expressing yourself coherently, and being personable are crucial skills. The goal of public relations is to inform and persuade, and in order to do that you must be a good communicator. You need to be confident in what you say, whether it be in writing or in public speaking. In public speaking, using non-verbal communication such as body language, gestures, tone, and pitch of voice is important to conveying your ideas. However, in digital media, body language becomes irrelevant. Conveying your message in a concise and meaningful manner in just 140 characters is a challenge that only a strong communicator can accomplish. Being a good listener and hearing what others have to say is also an important skill to have.
- Approachability: It’s important to be nice, passionate, authentic, and engaging. You want people to like you and believe in what you are pitching to them. Establishing something unique about yourself, something memorable, and using that to your advantage is one way to create solid relationships with others. Sure, having great communication skills is essential for getting people’s attention, but you also want to be charismatic and make people remember you so that they remain interested and keep coming back for more. Once you establish a solid relationship with someone in your network, it is much easier to work with them in the future. Consequentially, you are able to achieve your goals more quickly.
- Excellent Work Ethic: To be successful in PR you have to have a good work ethic and realize that being a PR practitioner is more demanding than most jobs. Answering e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner is crucial to being successful. Public relations isn’t a 9-to-5 job. Although it shouldn’t take over your life, you’ll undoubtedly have a last-minute deadlines arrive sooner than you anticipated or will need to chip in to help your team outside of normal working hours. Embracing these challenges and working hard to resolve them will make you more successful.
What do you think are some valuable traits a PR pro should have? Let us know on Twitter.