media update’s Melissa du Preez reflects on her experience in the field to show you how you can know for sure whether public relations (PR) is the career for you.
Being adaptable and able to think on your feet are key to a successful PR career, but what if you’re naturally shy and quiet or loud and impulsive – what’s the magic recipe for being the perfect fit for this career?
There is a misconception that PR professionals have to be extroverted, confident and charismatic, but in reality, very few people have all of these traits. What’s important, rather, is how you rise to a challenge by being honest with yourself about where your strengths and weaknesses lie and how to work around these.
We all have different backgrounds, experiences and opinions; it’s what makes us so unique. It’s this individuality that lends itself to PR — no two people think exactly the same, which is exactly where the magic happens.
Knowing this, how can you know whether YOU fit in?
Have you got the goods?
There are a few soft skills that you can develop to help you along your journey, like learning to adapt in the face of conflict and navigating difficult personalities with often competing needs.
Other soft skills include:
- Being a team player
- Paying attention to detail
- Practising time management
Your job will also be bringing together opposing views into a seamless strategy that everyone can support.
It’s important to ask yourself:
- Do you have a level head and stay cool under pressure?
- Are you able to leave bad ideas or habits behind for something better?
- Are you adaptable and willing to change as technology and trends evolve?
Work on that thick skin
Success lies at the cutting edge of the latest trends. These developments will help you weave and deliver the best content for your client or brand. This means you need to be confident enough to have your idea shot down in favour of a better fit — without taking it to heart. Rejection is a big part of the deal, and you’ll need to be alright with being wrong sometimes.
You’re only as good as your last success
This career means chasing highlights and striving to outdo yourself constantly. If you thrive on personal challenges, you’ll love PR. No two days are the same.
There’s a lot of competition out there and you’re all competing for the same thing: Time. Something your audience is hesitant to give.
When you’re chasing the clock in a cluttered space, you have to be at the top of your game at all times. This may sound like a losing battle but it's actually an exciting, warm and upskilling industry. You’ll learn a lot from some of this field’s top hitters and learn how to multitask in ways you never thought possible.
How important are qualifications?
Most PR job specifications ask for a degree/master’s in communications or a related field like journalism. But if you haven’t got this exact qualification, don’t lose heart. After all, it’s easier to teach someone a soft skill than it is to teach talent. Employers appreciate tenacity and proactivity, so go after what you want! Show employers what they’re missing out on.
PR is a career that offers something for everyone. You just need to be willing to work hard and learn fast to make the most of it.
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*Image courtesy of Canva