How To: Expect Nothing and Appreciate Everything in Public Relations
By Natalie Rohman
As a sophomore in college, pursuing public relations and being a part of PRSSA, I have gradually developed some healthy anxiety about what direction I want my career path to possibly go in. My junior year is planning to be one exploration of internships and professional insights—I am anticipating the stress induced search, but have gathered some helpful impressions I have made about PR and why you should take in everything you can during school.
To be quite honest, I am still learning about my major and important aspects of it such as writing, research, and communication. Public relations is very multi-faceted and fast paced, which can seem a bit intimidating with how many different branches and areas of PR there are. With my limited experience in PR and what I have studied so far, I want this to alleviate some thoughts about what PR is and what it isn’t. These are some key takeaways from presentations and site visits I’ve been on this past year that I think are very important to remember for anyone perspective of a career in public relations.
Don’t Expect it to be Easy
The PR world is very competitive. From what I’ve gathered, only so many people out of hundreds, get internships or jobs right out of college. Depending on where you are and what your educational background is, everyone’s experience in PR is different. Don’t expect to be placed in the most renowned or sexiest PR firm for your first job. PR requires dynamic skill sets and someone willing to do pretty much anything.
Appreciate All Opportunities
Having the ability to join a pre-professional group in college has definitely changed my entire perspective about the PR industry and what it really means to be in this industry. Getting outside your comfort zone, saying yes to things, asking questions, and getting involved in your major can be scary, but worth it. Who knows! You could be the next intern at an agency just because you walked up to someone and said hello. Take in the opportunities that are in front of you and focus on what you want in that moment.
Don’t Expect to Know the Answer
The greatest things about PR is that it is an industry filled with different types of jobs ranging from the creative side to marketing or to media analysis. The options are endless and the learning you get out of simply exploring different fields is going to help you grow into PR. You won’t know how to do everything, but you want to be open to asking questions and trying things out.
Appreciate Every Connection
There has not been one person I met in PR that I regretted talking to. Every single professional I have connected with during agency visits through PRSSA had something imperatively valuable and useful to advise me with. Not only are you sharing experiences, but introducing yourself is great practice for getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. You are going to talk to a lot of people in this industry, so start networking and being remembered!
Don’t Expect Your “Dream Job”
There’s this expectation that with every internship comes a beautiful full-time job, as I would love to hope so, you can never be sure to get everything. You may work at small agencies in the first few years or with clients you don’t necessarily like. Sometimes PR is about upholding a brand’s reputation or writing press releases all day long—don’t forget that the experience is experience. It’s the effort that you put into it that makes it all worth it.
As I begin my journey of internship searching, like many college students probably are, I am still discovering more about what working in public relations will be like and what it means to me. I know my perspective will change, but thinking about the possibilities early won’t do harm. Do the research, ask questions, and be open to opportunities. I’m no expert, but I am one with the process and this ever-changing industry I will get to work in one day.