Looking for your first public relations job or advice to give you an edge in landing that new PR promotion? Based on more than 25 years in PR agency management, here are 10 of my best tips that can make a big difference in positioning you for PR greatness.
- Network: Cultivate mentors, allies, industry contacts, leaders and other smart people. Join PRSSA, PRSA, IABC or any number of other business and professional organizations and get involved on committees. That’s where you’ll meet the important people in your career. Stay in touch with them by a quick call or email to share a tip, useful contact or excellent article you read. Grow your network forever.
- Seek more responsibility: Find something you know you can do well within your current organization. Ask for the chance to do it in addition to your job. Do it well and share the success. Research shows few ask for additional responsibility. Think Dilbert here. You will be noticed.
- Keep learning: Take a class. Sign up to add professional credits through PRSA or IABC. Often employers will gladly pay for professional development and note your determination. Do well and studies show you’ll get paid more.
- Dress for success: From clients, employers and your boss to the TV camera, newspaper photo or your local fundraiser, you’re judged on how you look. Show you’re professional by your appearance and how you present yourself.
- Volunteer: Join an organization or cause you’re passionate about. Use your PR and communication talents to make a difference. Build credibility, a portfolio and show you care. Widen your skills, network, and most important, your perspective. This is a proven stepping stone for success!
- Speak up: But do it with facts, thoughtfully and share your professional insights. Never blow smoke.
- Develop allies: Be nice to someone. Develop a reputation for being nice. It will count some day with a job offer, a new client who remembered your thoughtfulness or a simple smile and a heartfelt “thanks.” Trust me.
- Offer solutions: Learn more about your company or organization. Offer PR solutions, new ideas, not problems. Build your reputation as someone with the willingness to get things done. As a PR agency owner, I can tell you how valuable these employees are.
- Say thank you: Mom was right about this one! Say it in writing occasionally or with a phone call for surprise and a usually outstanding response.
- Build a powerful online persona: Carefully, and strategically, build your online presence using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or other powerful social media tools. Become expert in these tools which are now an essential PR skill. Watch out for the pitfalls of unprofessional language, breaking confidences or unwittingly sharing confidential or competitive information. The difference between your wanna-be gangsta rap or revealing photos and a professional presence could be the difference in getting that great new job or promotion.
One final bonus tip. Be ready for future opportunities. Always have an updated resume and online portfolio to share judiciously. Don’t be disloyal or desperate. Just be prepared when your hard work and these 10 tips pay off. Like great PR programs, your reputation and career need a great strategy too.
Have any other winning PR job tips to share? We’d be glad to hear them in our comments below.
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