What Does it Take to Work in Public Relations?
Each semester, I spend a few hours visiting ASU classes (and sometimes high school classes) to talk about public relations. This past year, however, COVID-19 prevented many – if not all – guest speakers. With college graduation earlier this month and high school graduation, for many in the Valley, this week, it got me to thinking about the question I get asked most often from students: what does it take to work in public relations? (Not to be confused with “what do I need to know to work in public relations,” which I answer here.)
- First and foremost, it takes someone with both the ability to write well and the desire to always get better.
- How are you at telling stories? The best public relations folks I’ve ever worked with are, at their core, excellent storytellers.
- Are you a good listener? Good, you will need both ears open and at the ready at all times to work in this industry.
- Can you think critically? It is a must when working as the strategic communications counsel for any business or brand.
- Do you like current events? You better, because you can’t talk to people in news, let alone pitch them, unless you know what is happening in the world around you.
- Can you multi-task? Public relations folks wear a lot of hats, often at the same time, so the ability to shift seamlessly from one role to another is crucial.
- Are you open to new and authentic relationships? You better be! Public relations is truly public relationships. The ability to cultivate connections and sustain them over the long-term is much of the best PR folks’ secret sauce.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some of the above can be learned via internships. But if the above sounds like you, then you just might be perfect for PR!