One of the highlights for me as a PR pro is being asked to share some of the insights I’ve gained from working in the PR trenches.
Recently, I was contacted by a college grad looking for advice on how to break into PR. Remembering how hungry I was for similar advice when first venturing out, I wanted to share my responses to her questions publicly so that others could benefit.
Are PR internships necessary and valuable – even if I’ve already graduated from college?
Absolutely! There is only so much you can learn about the communications and PR field in a classroom setting. To really understand the industry, you need to experience it first hand. The best way to do this, and one of the best ways to get your foot in the door at an agency, is through an internship. In fact, this is how I got my start in PR. I interned for a year at my current agency and joined full-time when I graduated from college.
How can I meet PR professionals in my area to learn about internships or job openings?
I recommend becoming involved in your local PRSA and IABC chapters. Both organizations offer job banks and an opportunity to attend their monthly luncheons where you can meet PR professionals. Be sure to bring copies of your resume and dress professionally. Additionally, make it a point to introduce yourself to the event organizers beforehand and share that you’re a student who is seeking employment or an internship. They will likely give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the attendees. An added benefit is the knowledge you’ll gain from attending such meetings, which can be hugely beneficial to your future career in PR.
Outside of internships, how else can I get experience in PR?
Follow your passion and explore volunteer opportunities at non-profits. Non-profit organizations are always in need of volunteers with an interest in communications or PR to help them spread their message in the community. Not only do you gain experience in working with an organization, you also have the opportunity to network with people in various industries that are also serving as volunteers or as board members.
Should I be using social media to make contacts with PR professionals?
Yes. PR communicators, by nature, are helpful. It goes hand-in-hand with being in the profession so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask these professionals for their insight and help. Social media networks like Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn are a great, low-key way to find and connect with PR professionals. Use these networks to make introductions, gain insight into what PR professionals are discussing, and build up your online reputation as a person in the know by joining in discussions.
What advice would you offer to a young person looking to break into PR?
BY MARCIE CASAS ⋅ JULY 27, 2011