Business professionals are still struggling in a tough economy, there are several changes emerging for both researchers and practitioners in public relations. Expectations for taking on multiple projects and clients along with being knowledgeable about multiple disciplines is becoming the expectation for those on the job market. The question is how do you set yourself from the rest of the crowd? What are the expectations of public relations students (undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D.) after graduation? Here are a few points to take into consideration when looking for potential jobs in public relations:
- Work hard, win easy — train yourself like you are in the Olympics: Getting to the highest level of competition is not due to working only a couple of days a week. It is a job that needs to be done 365 days a year. Competing at the Olympics takes knowledge and skills in various forms of training (competition, conditioning and technique to name a few) and the same rules apply for public relations.
- Master the art of multitasking: Being able to multitask is a science and art, and it takes time, dedication and commitment. Individuals who have been successful multi-taskers who have to take on multiple roles and responsibilities. By doing this, they are showing others that they have the capabilities to wear many different hats and are able to move across industries and professions.
- Take additional courses, especially in social media and integrated marketing Communications (IMC): Courses specializing in social media (e.g., research, writing and campaigns) are absolutely key, and courses that bridge public relations along with other disciplines (e.g., integrated marketing communications or strategic communications) are also highly recommended.
- Present at academic and professional conferences: Along with main academic conferences for public relations professionals (e.g., AEJMC, IPRRC, NCA and ICA to name a few), be open to the possibilities of attending various professional conferences as well. Attend conferences that have a great balance between researchers and practitioners in terms of the presentations (e.g., PRSA International Conference).
- Write trade and academic publication pieces: Guest blogging on well-known public relations blogs is another option to consider. White papers, brief articles and brief reports are other options to consider. Collaboration with fellow professionals or professors at academic institutions is just one way to generate these opportunities.
- Don’t be afraid of being a forward thinker: Creativity comes in many forms, and some of the best ideas come from thinking outside of the box and discipline. Keeping up with the latest technology on a daily basis is absolutely key, as well as looking at new developments and their potential from a critical standpoint.
It is crucial to make sure you are active in the research and professional community. Bring an understanding of research and application of public relations to the table. Inspire creativity and innovation with work, and have the mentality and training perspective of an Olympic athlete — work hard, win easy.
Karen Freberg, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville and an adjunct instructor for the Integrated Marketing Communications program at West Virginia University. The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate program at WVU’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism is offered exclusively online with no on-campus classroom attendance required. This enables a student to earn a valuable master’s degree or professional certificate in this fast-growing field from anywhere in the world.
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