Posted: October 8, 2014, 2:27 p.m.
by Brittany Downey.
I watched a video called “What is PR?,” and it highlights a lot of great things practitioners do. The voiceover is strong and a little mysterious. The flashing lights and scenes are glamorous. However, I couldn’t help but feel that JPL missed a step. There’s a backstory to the public relations world — a place where each practitioner had to start.
College Board describes a public relations major as a program where students “learn how to create and promote the images of individuals as well as businesses and other organizations.” Its pre-graduation checklist includes an internship, a strong portfolio, technical skills and a kick-butt résumé. How can public relations students possibly squeeze everything we need into four years? But we do it — and we do it well. The people who decide to take the route to a career in public relations are few and far between, but are also the best and brightest.
Our industry is constructed on the foundation of building relationships. Whether the relationship-building be with a client, co-worker or journalist, the mutual understanding of each other is key to working as a public relations practitioner. Your pitch must be polite but informational. Your competition should envy you, but also want to work with you. Your clients should be confident of your capabilities and happy to see your name on their caller ID when you call. It’s a delicate balance to work competently and build relationships, but one that’s important to the development of a public relations career.
According to a blog by PRowl Public Relations, Temple University’s student-run public relations firm, minors that commonly accompany the public relations include English or creative writing, graphic design and foreign language. We have an insatiable hunger for the creative, and our brains constantly want to be worked. Other minors include political science, business and communications. Public relations majors are driven by strategy, and the ability to extend that into government or the corporate sphere gives us an even bigger creative space.
PRSSA’s national blog, “Progressions,” puts it best in the blog Four Tips From Recruiters to Secure Your Internship – experience is a necessity, and not just from the public relations arena. Employers, recruiters and mentors all want to see that you keep busy and work every day to be the best version of yourself. It’s no wonder then that public relations students are everywhere. They’re working for nonprofits as volunteers or interns. They’re writing newsletters for their local organizations. They’re like me, working on campus at an internship between classes. We take any and all opportunities we can get our hands on, and we use our growing knowledge to succeed.
So next time you’re looking for the total package — look no further. We’re here learning the best ways to share your story. After all, we’re creating our own as well.