5 Skills You Need to Succeed in Your PR Career

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 255,600 public relations jobs will be available by 2024. That’s a 6% increase from 2014. With nearly 15,000 jobs being created over ten years, it will be important to ensure that your skill set is marketable within the industry to either get a PR job for the first time or continue to grow within the field.

If you want to be marketable in this industry, there are few key skills that every PR professional should possess. Certainly, public relations careers may look different from the outside, but each PR professional has a very similar set of skills.

Some people are naturally adaptable or organized, but this is not the case for everyone. There are many ways to gain the five valuable skills listed here, and some of the most successful professionals developed these skills while studying for their public relations degree.

Public Relations professionals need to be able to respond quickly to a company’s request or challenge. Occasionally, a situation can change rapidly (think: the corporate president decides to fly in for this year’s employee picnic to make a major announcement), and the PR specialist involved needs to be able to adapt quickly to the change of plans to handle the problem in the best way possible.

The public relations field is always changing. A curiosity toward this change will be beneficial toward any professional working in PR. The use of social media to both develop a brand and advertise a company challenges a good PR specialist to not only be in tune to information that is being shared but also to have an in depth understanding of the platforms to share this information on.

Forward Thinking
Things change quickly, and a good PR specialist will always be one step ahead. By not only being on-trend and current, but able to predict what will be coming next, a forward thinking PR specialist will know the best solution to a client’s problem, or know which social media channel will portray which campaign best. Information travels rapidly and on a global scale. As a result, the communications team needs to be able to react quickly to important events, and be aware that mistakes made publicly will not go unnoticed. Someone who has the foresight to prevent any possible problems before they occur will make a strong PR professional.

Strong Communicator
PR Specialists should able to communicate verbally and in writing with skill and ease. There will always be information that needs to be shared. Sometimes this will be in the form of a media blast that is prepared ahead of time and mailed out while other times it will be a tweet requiring information to be shared in 140 characters or less. Writing well and fast will always work to a PR specialist’s advantage.

PR Specialists balance many projects at once. They do not have room to overlook any detail of an event or communication, so they must keep their files well organized. Strong organization skills tend to translate into strong time management skills – this is also mandatory. Whether it is a project with quick turn around or a year-long commitment, PR professionals will need to keep things organized. One major (read: public) slip could ruin the reputation of an individual or an agency. One of the best ways to prevent any mishaps is to establish an organization system, follow it, and encourage others on the team to do the same. With a plan in place, things rarely go wrong.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Public Relations Specialists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm (visited March 09, 2016).