PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Finding PR in Everyday Life

Internships. Love ’em or hate ’em, you gotta have ’em to get a job in public relations. The job market is getting more and more competitive, especially in today’s tumultuous economy. But it’s not just a solid internship experience that will separate you from the rest of the crowd. At the big agencies, they sometimes review more than 300 resumes for a summer internship. So besides an internship, what else will separate you from the rest of the crowd?

When it comes down to it, there are a couple of key principles that public relations practitioners must be proficient in.

  1. Strong communication skills
  2. Generating content for a myriad of communication channels
  3. Ability to adapt and learn

A huge part of public relations is communication skills. Where can you practice this? I think a better question is where can’t you practice this? Practicing AP style in regular e-mail conversation, papers for class and even on your resume is helpful down the line.

Generating content is something that you will have to do in virtually every function of public relations. This might include writing and drafting speeches, writing and editing articles for a company newsletter and generating content for a Web site. The best way to get this going is to get involved with a campus organization. It’s even better if the organization is not PR-oriented because this will allow you to build and develop a public relations system for the group.

Today, with the constant changes occurring in the public relations landscape, it is integral to keep up with the times. Read PRWeek, subscribe to blogs, join online conversations, join professional associations.. the list is endless. Support your own professional development and make sure that you are saving money to partake in professional development.

Besides becoming proficient in those three skills, there are several experiences you can have outside of a public relations internship are pretty important in making you a more well-rounded pre-professional:

  • Sales. Some love it and some hate it. Whether it’s telemarketing or working at your college newspaper, the skills you learn in sales are critical to pretty much any career. I work at The State News, MSU’s newspaper, in the advertising department, so I’m responsible for selling ads. Every day, I’m cold calling potential advertisers, building relationships with current advertisers and working with a team to accomplish individual and department-wide goals. It sounds a lot like PR, and it is.
  • Writing for different mediums. This is something everyone can work on, and I’m looking for new ways to try this out, too. Writing for your college paper is how a lot of great PR students get experience and I would recommend it, too. It’s also a good idea to try out alternative and online publications to get a feel for different writing styles. Maintaining a blog doesn’t hurt, either.
  • Usability of social media. Not only can you get yourself out there online, but this is also an open forum for networking. You can find and connect with new people.

In general, one who can draw from multiple experiences and can demonstrate a strong ability to learn new things is a pretty solid candidate for any position. As a manager in the ad department, I take part in the interviewing for new account executives. That’s what I look for, and that’s what a lot of recruiters are looking for, too.

*Most of this post comes from my favorite career-related book is Knock ‘Em Dead. They have a killer Web site with a FREE resume critique section. Check it out!

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3 Responses

  1. Great post, Nick. I’m glad I’m not the only one who practices AP Style in emails!

    My internship supervisor said one thing that makes me stand out is my drive. If you can show you are constantly trying to better develop your skills, people notice it.

  2. Sarah says:

    Great post, Nick! I like your suggestion about joining organizations that are not PR related and becoming the PR expert within.

    An average day for me is writing 90-95% of the time. I definitely agree that practicing your writing skills is key if you are seeking a career in PR.

  3. Lauren says:

    Great advice, Nick! It is really important to build your resume and start creating connections as early as possible. I recently started a website called InternshipRatings.com. It is a resource for students to discuss their internship experiences in a safe and friendly environment. As internships become increasingly important, it is imperative for students to find the best internships possible.

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