The Truth About Working in Public Relations
Updated January 2024 – So you’ve found yourself questioning the viability of working in public relations because you’ve heard so many exciting things about it, but do you REALLY know what it’s all about? Public relations can send you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It may also break you. This high-stress, fast-paced environment isn’t for everyone. You need to be light on your feet and very quick-witted to succeed. Here are just five things you should probably know before diving into that PR career that you’ve been dreaming about.
You should note that these are in no particular order, so treat them with equal importance and emphasis.
PR is not glamorous
As much as Samantha Jones and whoever else wants to act like they have drinks and lunch with their clients all day, working in public relations is not that glamorous. The truth is we are behind the scenes of very amazing people and brands, which seems a little lonely at times to be honest. You have to thrive in the success of others if you’re in public relations, so if that’s your bag, go for it. If you think you’ll be in the limelight, think again.
MUST have creative writing and thinking skills
Can you think of 5 different ways to say things? Then you’ve got it. As messaging and communication professionals we need to be able to tell the same story in a hundred different versions and then double down on what works. You never know what other people are going to gravitate towards so have your arsenal of creative headlines and angles ready. Be ready to brainstorm the strangest and most unique angles to get the attention your clients are looking for. This could be the most fun and the most frustrating part of working in PR.
Have thick skin when working in public relations
This may be a more important rule than the rest because the truth is, as PR pro’s you are going to deal with a lot of rejection in your life. You need to learn how to bounce back and let that rejection change your view. You really have to be resilient and realize that the rejection is not personal. What can you do to turn that “no” into a “yes”. Not only is this an absolutely necessary skill for PR, it’s a great life skill to have in general.
Learning PR prepares you for many jobs
People with PR skills are blessed with the gift of communication, a skill that is hard for most people to master. Once you have this skill it really prepares you for so many other jobs in life. As a PR pro, you can dive into various roles better prepared than you may normally be. Learning how to address and communicate with different audiences really gives you a winning perspective on many types of roles that deal with business, operations, marketing, sales and so much more.
Endurance is key
You’re not going to have a job for a few months and know that it’s right for you, especially in PR. Know that PR has so many facets of it that it takes at least 6 months to a year to crack the surface. In PR you have branding and communications, crisis management, non-profit, Consumer PR, Enterprise PR, Thought leadership, product marketing, speaking, publicity, and then you’ve got the vertical trade markets to explore. The main thing is if you like explaining things to people in stories, and you’re extremely persistent, then you’re probably on the right track.
Bonus tip for working in public relations
Get an internship before you have a job! Ok, my bonus tip for anyone that wants a job in PR is that you MUST get an internship and stick it out for at least 6 months to see what it’s about. Some internships pay, some don’t and there are different kinds. But if I have learned anything from both being an intern and a boss is that school doesn’t compare to that of real-world experience. You may be doing all the grunt work, but the work you are doing is important stuff.
Good luck on the job search and if you’re interested in learning more or further discussing working in public relations, feel free to check out career opportunities at The Silver Telegram by visiting our Join the Team page.
About the Author: Ronjini Joshua is the founder of The Silver Telegram, a full-service public relations agency. She is also host of The PR Playbook Podcast and a member of the prestigious Forbes Business Council.