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Potential PR Practitioner

Published on July 28, 2017, at 5:45 p.m.
by Katie Willem.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) offers career advice for those considering going into the field of public relations. This advice is obviously catered toward people early on in their college careers, and as someone nearing the end of her college career in the PR major, I believe it’s only fair that I weigh in on the conversation.

CIPR says, “Public relations can offer an incredibly varied and challenging career, encompassing many different activities.

The job, depending on what section of the PR field you’re entering into, can span from press meetings to long hours in brainstorming sessions. And the skill sets you can have for the job are endless. From public speaking to graphic design, if there’s something you’re savvy at, there’s probably a place for it in the public relations field.

CIPR suggests three questions you should ask yourself when considering going into PR:
“Do I have an interest in what’s going on around me?”
“Do I have good communication skills?”
“Do I cope well under pressure?”

These are not questions to be asking someone deciding on whether or not they should go into public relations, because they are skill sets that most people have to acquire both while they’re attending college and in their early years out in the field.

Instead, prospective PR practitioners should be asking themselves questions like these:

“Do I have a passion for people?”
Unlike communications skills that one learns, enjoying helping people and being around people is something that is ingrained in someone’s personality.

“Am I someone who will be willing to put in extra time?”
Public relations jobs sometimes require late nights at the office when faced with a crisis.

“Do I have leadership qualities that will allow me to motivate others around me?”
The most important thing in the field, and also while in school, is one’s ability to motivate those around you to want to achieve bigger and better things for themselves and for your company. Inspiring others is the most important part of any PR practitioner’s job, whether it be behind the scenes, or in front of a crowd. It’s important that you’re able to get the people around you to believe in achieving the impossible, because that’s when the impossible becomes possible.

Public relations takes gusto — any practitioner could tell you that. Yes, you have to be skilled in communication, especially during a crisis, and you have to be savvy in knowledge of current events and the world around you, but those are skills and knowledge I’ve gained over time and will continue to improve.

What I believe to be the most important thing that you really need to know about yourself before choosing public relations as your career is whether or not you’re willing to buckle down when things start looking bad. Because the job is pretty tough, but we PR folk know we’re tougher.

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