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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Start of the Beginning as a PR Professional Brings Insecurities

Being close to graduation, there is one thing in particular that interests me most about public relations in our society, which is securing a job in the field.

I will be graduating next fall and am equally excited and terrified to start my professional career amidst uncertainties in the public relations field. The article, “Demand for Top PR Execs Up, While Entry Level Pay Is Low,” from PR News Online lays out a current scope of things when it comes to the PR profession.

A few of their points got me thinking: hiring PR pros is in demand right now, which is great for the pros, but the job outlook is bleak at the entry level, and this is less than encouraging. Especially when many students come out of school with debt and are getting minimum wage, no matter how qualified they may be.

The top social skills needed in the PR profession are: social media, crisis communications and reputation management (in order). Writing, listening and problem solving are also high on the list, but what Lisa Ryan, senior VP at Heyman Associates, stresses as the most important skill if you are looking to get ahead is leadership. So what can I do to assert myself and prove my skills that I have learned in school?

The ability to hone our leadership skills in school is not always right in front of us and so it is up to us, as students, to take part in projects and organizations where we can define and hone leadership skills that will become so valuable to a company in our careers. Something else that has certainly stuck in my mind is the need to have a world view in communications. I realize that while I stay current on many things in the news nationally and internationally, I do not really have a “world view” in communications and this is something that I will need to explore.

So what more is there to say other than that the most important thing you can do for yourself is to gain experience which will set you apart. Experience, experience, experience! I am thankful to have a great internship where I can explore the publicity side of the business and intend to learn as much as I possibly can while I still have this position.

I love public relations, but for now, I am thankful to still be in school, getting ahead and preparing myself for the years to come as a professional.

Stacy Fahey
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
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