For thousands of Irish students, next week’s CAO offers could be the stepping stone to a job in Public Relations. But do you have the right characteristics to accept a CAO offer for PR?
First of all, we hope you got the results you worked for. Your Leaving Cert is not the be-all and end-all, but right now it’s the main factor that will decide where and how you’re going to spend the next three or four years of your life.
If you’ve received a CAO offer for PR, you should be feeling pretty pleased with yourself! Public Relations is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the communications industry, with a mind-boggling range of career paths both here in Ireland and abroad.
But before you fill in that form, you need to know if you’re suited to the job. Is PR the career for you? To help you decide, here are five key characteristics of successful PR professionals.
Great writing skills
For starters, your writing skills need to be well above average. Once you join an agency you’ll quickly discover that everyone in PR is a writer, a content-optimizer and a publisher. If writing is not your strong suit, you can use your college years to improve, e.g. by starting a blog. Like everything else in life, copywriting skills improve with practice.
Life in a PR agency can get seriously busy, so the more organised you are the better. You are likely to be handling several clients at any given time so you’ll be working on multiple campaigns and strategies with colleagues, suppliers, journalists and of course client contacts all involved in each. A clear head, a methodical approach and a lot of lists will help you stay on top of it all.
Every week, it seems there is a new productivity tool or time management system or content scheduling software to get to grips with. That’s not going to change. Keeping up with the latest tech is a relentless learning process but it’s a necessity in this evolving world. Sink or swim!
As important as it is to know your tech and have social media skills, in PR you also need to have actual social skills. PR professionals are a conduit between companies (clients) and the media; in this capacity you’ll need to be able to talk confidently, make a good impression, present ideas, negotiate and give good advice. We are an industry of talkers, after all.
Your first year in Public Relations is likely to be ‘interesting’, shall we say, as you learn the ropes. This will involve a bit of everything as you find your place in the agency – client meetings, media pitches, brainstorming ideas, event management, and much more. PR is a team game and a positive approach will go down well with your colleagues and clients alike.
Start your career asap
With your CAO offer, your journey in PR is just beginning. And of course, you are not alone. So the next few years are an opportunity, not only to learn as much as you can about the industry but to ensure that when you graduate, you already have options. Start connecting with PR firms and stay in touch throughout your studies – beginning with us of course!
(Image thanks to irishexaminer.com)