Entering the world of public relations (PR) I thought my understanding of what an average day would entail was comprehensive. My first 6 months as a PR professional has shown me that this was far from true. The pace and variety of the role, coupled with the diversity of the clients and projects has provided unparalleled learning opportunities and a job that is truly different every day of the week.
PR is a multifaceted field, with many opportunities to be creative. I work within the healthcare sector where on any given day you can go from working with a pharmaceutical company in a highly-regulated environment, to collaborating with consumer brands that allow a more imaginative approach, all with opportunities for partnership with healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups.
If like me, you’re just starting a career in PR, although not an exhaustive list, here are some of the key things I have learned:
- There are endless learning opportunities. Every task you do will help you to develop your skills, both professional and personal, and give you new insight into your target industry.
- Ask as many questions as you need to! It is better to ask a question than potentially make a mistake that could have been avoided had you spoken up. Your colleagues will appreciate this and you will progress much faster.
- Be news aware. Having awareness of the latest news stories is both useful in a general sense and also allows you to identify valuable opportunities for your clients.
- Pitching to journalists can be intimidating. Listen in on other colleagues’ calls, write down a script and ultimately be confident!
- Take lots of notes. You never know when that added piece of information will come in handy!
- A to-do list is key. Keeping track of everything you need to do will keep you on the ball and help you prioritise.
- Finally, remind yourself that pretty much everyone around you has also been in your position at some point, and listen to their advice – they’ve learned from mistakes so you don’t have to!
In my first six months working in PR I have learned more than I thought possible, with new lessons and tips every day. Combine this with the excitement and challenge that comes with the job, and it makes for one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s not a career for everyone, but for those considering it I would urge you to take that leap – you won’t be disappointed.
By Lewis P.