Published on October 29, 2020, at 5:32 p.m.
by Caroline Ladd.
One of the most intimidating parts of being a young adult is starting a career. What is something that can make this even more intimidating? Trying to start a career during a pandemic.
The public relations industry focuses on fostering two-way communication between a business and its key publics, so being able to correspond efficiently is essential. With COVID-19, public relations practices have greatly adapted. Not only is this difficult for people who are already employed, but it also creates a greater challenge for young adults trying to be successful public relations practitioners.
According to an article by McKinsey, technology seems to be the saving grace of public relations firms as COVID-19 has dominated the world. It is a great resource for professionals to take advantage of and learn new skills with. They can broaden their specialties and learn new ways to get their clients’ work out in the world for people to see.
A great way for a professional to make their mark in technology, according to Wadds Inc. is to make sure when a company is producing things such as campaigns, it eliminates the “noisy channels” with creative digitals that are led through their audience’s insight because “no one wants to attend a two-day conference via webinar.” Using technology in this way can allow a business to have an advantage over other companies, who are failing to do the same.
An Agility PR article also noted the importance of technology, stressing that public relations businesses should start looking into new ways to save their work, such as transferring to online businesses and focusing on social media in order to cut costs while still being productive with their clients.
Sally Goodloe, senior account leader at PERITUS Public Relations, stated that COVID-19 has “taught us the importance of being prepared for any situation and (it) will increase the value of crisis management,” adding that companies always need to have a crisis management plan ready. She also noted this unprecedented virus has taught the industry to find ways to be flexible because the “scope of works we outlined for clients at the beginning of the year looks nothing like they do now,” due to having to shift their strategy and focus for each of their clients.
However, there are some upsides to this pandemic when it comes to the public relations industry. Goodloe “encourages (students) to take this as an opportunity for increased relationship building with professionals in the field.” She said that “opportunities are now endless” when it comes to meeting public relations professionals around the world and making an impression in the industry. She thinks that being able to network within the industry is essential to a young adult coming into the profession because “networking, relationship building and personalization are key in public relations.”
Brooke Tucker, account manager at Lewis Communications, believes that now is a great time for young public relations professionals to enter the working world. She stated that “students can see how messaging has changed tremendously,” and she advised them to “study these trends and figure out a way to do it better” because this new way of working is something new for everyone, not just young adults.
Students can also begin their own blogs, social media pages and websites with all of the free time they may have acquired over the last few months. According to Forbes’ article with tips on coming into the public relations industry, generating “outreach for (oneself) as a young brand or entrepreneur” is a very valuable asset with employers because “public relations is the earned media arm of a complete marketing strategy.” This self-pitching helps a young adult to showcase their ability to thrive in the business with their own resources and passion. Being proactive in their career can also show a future employer what they would be best at specializing in and if they are a good fit for their company.
There are many options for young professionals to make their way in the public relations industry despite COVID-19. Young adults can use this unprecedented situation to their advantage by getting ahead with new trends before they even start job searching. While it may seem more difficult, it is not impossible for someone to make their way in the industry regardless of COVID-19’s impact.