Are You Wrong for PR?

23 Jul Are You Wrong for PR?

When choosing a career in PR, college students tend to focus on its more glamorous aspects. Yes, there are times when we go to star-studded parties and drink champagne. But the majority of a PR professional’s career is spent sitting in an office, dealing with daily fire drills. There’s a reason why PR is often listed as one of the top-5 most stressful jobs.

That said, I love my job in PR. It offers something new and different every day, a chance to build relationships with people in diverse positions, and a behind-the-scenes look at how news gets made.

But PR is hard sometimes. While I’m not sure my specific role deserves a spot on the world’s most stressful jobs list, it’s certainly no cakewalk. This is a career (much like waiting tables) that isn’t for everyone. PR pros need a certain set of skills and personality traits to be successful.

If you’re thinking about going into PR, consider this list of requirements before making the jump:

Patience – A lot of PR is waiting: waiting to hear back on a pitch, waiting for an article to go live, waiting on material from the client, waiting for edits, and on and on. If you can’t handle the waiting (and finding something else to work on in the meantime) this might not be the field for you.

Love of writing – In PR you will be writing every day. Pitches, blog post, press releases, emails, etc. You’ll need to be concise, compelling and clear in your communications. Since you’ll be doing it so often, it’s best if you enjoy it.

Thick skin – Obviously, no one loves to be rejected constantly. But, in PR you get told “no” a lot. If you’re lucky, it’s communicated nicely; if you’re unlucky, you get hung up on (or worse) by a reporter in the middle of your pitch. Of course it’s upsetting. But if this is going to keep you up at night, beware.

Love of people – You don’t have to be Miss. (or Mr.) Congeniality, but it sure helps. We are constantly tasked with building relationships with new people – clients, reporters, influencers, and others. These relationships are the foundation of what we do. So if you’d rather not spend your time cultivating strong relationships, PR might not be your best career path.

Good under pressure – Everything in PR is deadline driven, and we are always under the gun. Sometimes we don’t even have time to procrastinate. To thrive in this field, you need to be good at putting out fires, setting expectations and checking things off the to-do list quickly and efficiently.

Ali Robinson
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