It was never my intention to work in PR. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I was never entirely sure what career path I wanted to take. Nonetheless, at the age of 18 I, like many other young adults, found myself at a crossroads — should I plunge myself into full-time work or should I go to university? Guest post by Kay Seago
I chose the latter.
Finally, after three years of study, I graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in History. However, I soon found myself back in the situation that I faced when I was 18 – what now? Luckily, by this stage I had a bit more of an idea about what I wanted to do, and thus my career in PR began.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “how does a history degree get you a job in PR?”, but this route into the PR industry is more common than you might think. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of PR practitioners that haven’t studied it as a discipline.
I think there is a misconception that most people working in public relations must have studied it, or at least studied business/marketing. However, although it can be difficult going into PR after studying a different subject, it’s important to remember that studying for any degree will have taught you transferrable skills they are extremely useful in the industry. If you’re wondering what I mean by transferrable skills, check out my article on Behind The Spin.
Whilst transferrable skills can be your golden ticket to finding employment, confidence is key. You could have all of the skills in the world but when it comes down to it, without confidence how will you be able to showcase those skills?
I found that the biggest hurdle that I have had to face is having confidence in myself. During my first few months working in PR I felt completely out of my depth. It was an industry that I had no experience in and not much of an idea about, but I soon realised that this insecurity could be damaging. How are employers, and more importantly clients, meant to have confidence in you if you don’t have it in yourself?
I’m no PR guru but I’ve started making an effort to boost my confidence and have found the following to be really helpful:
Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Go and meet people. Whether this is at a networking event or simple via Twitter, join in on discussions and start getting your name out there a bit.
Go and meet people. Whether this is at a networking event or simple via Twitter, join in on discussions and start getting your name out there…
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is an age old piece of advice but I still find lots of practitioners that are too wary to simply ask ‘why am I doing this?’ or ‘what relevance does this have?’. Asking questions will not only help you understand the industry but will show your willingness to learn – something every employer would value. Besides, I can almost guarantee that an employer would prefer you to ask how or why and get the job done rather than remain silent and make a mistake.
Asking questions will not only help you understand the industry but will show your willingness to learn.
Never stop learning
Whether you’re newly graduated or have been working for years, it’s important to never stop learning. PR is an ever-evolving industry so keeping up-to-date will not only boost your confidence but will make you invaluable to employers. The CIPR and PRCA run plenty of courses that will help you to keep learning. Failing that, you can never beat a good book!
PR is an ever-evolving industry so keeping up-to-date will not only boost your confidence but will make you invaluable to employers.
These tips may seem really obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people in this industry are still suffering with a lack of confidence. Working in PR can be tough and incredibly daunting but I believe that confidence is the key to success. If you struggle with confidence hopefully these tips will help — if not, then fake it til you make it!
If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!