An important question to ask yourself is how you can make yourself stand out from your peers. Developing skills critical to the public relations industry is a great way to show employers who you are. Now is the time to perfect the six skills that I have found are the most important to PR professionals.
Communicate and listen
You need to be a good communicator, but you also need to be an excellent listener. Most people can tell others their opinions and talk with people, but few take the time to listen. When you are working, the most important thing will be to satisfy your boss and client; listening to what they expect and need will help you excel and stand out as an employee who truly cares. With the Internet and the rapid growth of technology, our sphere of interaction is becoming more international. Part of being a good communicator is learning to engage with other cultures in a respectful manner. You need to learn to communicate well through all available forms.
“Public relations professionals write.” Each career has a key characteristic and the one we are best known for is writing. Always make time to write. Maybe you love creative writing or maybe your style is journalistic. Find the style you love and write as much as you can. Riding a bike is learned by practice; writing is perfected by time and work. If you think that writing is not your strong point, keep working at it and you will succeed.
Be a sponge
If you are willing to always learn then there is nothing you will not be able to master or achieve. Do not reach the point where you think you have learned everything you can about your craft. There is always something to learn! Sometimes we can get caught in the myth of having to travel to a conference or special event to learn. Do not fall into that trap – your peers and professors are one of the greatest resources you have and they are readily available to teach and encourage you whenever.
Public relations is considered one of the most stressful jobs and I believe that is because so much is always happening. In order to stay on top of all your responsibilities you will need to be very organized. I write everything down in a day planner; others track everything in their phone or carry a notebook with them. Everyone has a different organization style; find one that works for you and start using it!
Stay on top of the news
Read the news each day and know what is going on in your field and in the world. Stay connected with the challenges our nation is facing. Read the newspaper, listen to the radio or follow a news website. Reading the news will make you a more rounded individual, make your conversations more interesting, and will help develop you as a professional.
The PR industry is a great one to become involved with if you enjoy being creative. The possibilities are endless and businesses will always need unique ways to distinguish them from the competition. Practice creativity if it is not something you are strong at. A quick Google search will bring up several ways to improve your skills.
As young PR professionals, we need to be equipping ourselves with these skills. Keep practicing and improving your skills!
Hannah Morris and is a current senior public relations major. She serves as secretary for the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter and as co-director for our Chapter’s first regional conference – “Caffeinate Your Career” taking place April 8 and 9, 2016. As an emerging public relations professional, Hannah is interested in pursuing a career with higher education. She currently works with Waynesburg alumni in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and is active in musical groups on campus. Hannah also enjoys music, tea and swing dancing.