Monday, 12 November 2012

Step 5: Gaining PR Skills

Become Skillful, Become Successful

Wow I can’t believe that I have already reached step 5 in this blog and I have to say that I am really enjoying it. Maybe now is a good time to note that these steps are part of my experience and are not part of a one size fits all for building a career in PR. Maybe some of these steps resonate with you, maybe they don’t help at all or maybe it’s opened your eyes to something new. Either way, with each step I find myself progressing and it would be great if you could follow along and provide some feedback. So don’t be shy, feel free to comment below.

I have decided to make step 5 all about building up PR skills. Ever since I entered my program in PR, I realized this was game-time; it’s the last leg before I enter into the job hunt world alongside my fellow PR grads and PR professionals out there. That is why for months now I have been reflecting on required skills for PR and this blog will somewhat scratch the surface of what I have uncovered.

First, I wanted to know what skills I had that worked well in PR. Well, I knew that the reason I went into PR was because I love to write and would consider it a strength. I also love communicating and being creative (check out this link for an interesting study done on creativity in PR). These skills are more natural abilities or talents; not that they can’t be worked on and improved. Yet, there is something to be said for being adept or intrinsically moved when applying a certain skill. And it is my belief that this natural inclination toward these skills is something a PR pro can bring to the table that no one else can. (It is essentially why the PR profession exists, in my mind.)

Second, I enjoy researching, working on projects, multitasking, doing computer design, giving presentations and running events. These are typical PR activities and require a certain skill level which can range from beginner to expert. These are the skills that you can grow and perfect as a PR student, something I have been trying to do.

Third, there are the hidden skills or the skills developed on the job. It’s the "je ne sais quoi" that those PR veterans have; skills that are so honed they are second nature. Sometimes they are among the skills needed for PR that are simply unknown to PR students. That being said, today very little is truly hidden with Google at our finger tips, and so I did some research to uncover the skills needed to have to start a career in PR.
I found some interesting articles, like this one from the IABC discussing social media skills. Are they truly necessary for a career in PR? I think that the answer is yes and this article really covers this topic well. Another article I found discussed more of the future skills needed in PR, like video editing and programming skills. This just goes to show that there will always be room for more and more skills in the PR profession and that you may need to expand beyond what you already know. Lastly, I found an article that discusses skills needed to respond to PR needs. For instance, advanced spreadsheet skills are needed to respond to the need to quantify communication outcomes. This link was really great and I definitely recommend it.

Adaptability; Public Relations
Respond to PR Needs
So you have to reap from the skills you have and you have to sow the skills that you will need by seeking, learning and doing. This step may be crucial, because without the ever-important work experience, you will need an awesome skill-set to get the dream PR job. Here’s hoping.

The second part of this step is practicing your skills – which I will do my best to cover in Step 6.

P.S. I love learning and PR is learning for life.

1 comment:

  1. Michael Davison, McMaster U Grad Student14 November 2012 at 22:35

    Though it can be said for many aspects of the 'business' world, I feel that PR in particular is a constantly shifting landscape. This definitely lends itself to creativity and to a constantly evolving skill-set. It is the nature of the public that its opinions and trends are continually changing; no wonder a professional expected to interact with the public must be one step ahead of them!

    Whether the industry truly lacks 'big ideas' or not, the fact is that Public Relations is growing as a field and is adopting new modes of communication. As the public becomes more vocal on a day-to-day basis through social media and other tools, the job of the PR professional will be to understand and interact with that dialogue in fresh, insightful ways. A creative individual is inherently one who learns quickly, adapts, and generates ideas. PR may be one of the greatest playgrounds for business professionals with these skills, as its role is still being defined and expanded.


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