Want to pivot into a public relations career? Don't have any PR internships or work experience under your belt? Don't stress, you can do it without.
The secret? Ambition, humility and resilience.
Got those sorted? Here's three tips to make that transition even smoother...
If the front door isn’t open, create a side door
When a PR job or internship listing is posted, you know it's going to be competitive. There's a good chance most people applying will have a university/college degree plus work experience.
Here's one of the best pieces of advice you'll find - don't wait for job ads to be posted.
Take the side door and set up informational interviews. The purpose of these are to source information about working in the industry and more specifically, at that company.
Make a list of the agencies and companies that interest you. Find out who the key people are in the company such as Managing Directors, General Managers and Group Directors.
When emailing them, share your background and why you’re interested in moving into PR. Outline what you'd love to gain from them at an informational interview and provide some written work examples. These can easily be fictional items but if so, own that and advise you've not had the chance to write a media release or blog or media pitch before, but you've given it a go. This shows initiative, hunger and enthusiasm.
Approach these informational interviews from the standpoint of simply wanting to gather information to help you understand the industry you want to work in, plus what these companies are looking for from potential employees. It's also a great chance to practise your pitching; the focus, being you!
Learn to take your ego out of the equation
When you’re starting out in a new career, you have to learn the ropes which may mean starting from the bottom. This can be a culture shock for those who have shifted over from a role where they had been making more money and had greater responsibility or autonomy.
The key is to embrace this and use it as an opportunity to soak in knowledge, even with the most mundane tasks. If you don't understand how your task fits into a project, ask a colleague or manager.
If you're faced with something monotonous, consider if there is a more efficient way to execute it. It shows initiative and the more initiative you show, the quicker you'll be able to take on more complex tasks.
All skills are transferable
Whatever your experiences are prior to working within PR, the chances are you have transferable skills that will be highly desirable within this industry.
Look at how you can make those relatable to the PR industry.
If you're not sure what skills could be transferable, think about what any company would want from an intern or employee in a junior position.
They want someone who is organised, eager, has a great work ethic and uses their initiative. Find relevant examples of how you've got experience in those areas from your life or previous employment and present that. It will show you are able to look at situations with critical thinking and apply problem solving skills to find a solution.
At the end of the day....
What’s really going to help you fly in this industry is a can-do attitude. You need to be open to change, getting your hands dirty and be a sponge for knowledge. Be persistent in the face of adversity and focus on what value you and your experience can provide to a public relations role.
Want to learn more about pivoting into PR? Listen to our podcast interview with Edelman’s Winston Chang, who went from high school teacher to a career in PR. His insight is invaluable and his experiences will give you the motivation you need to get cracking on making the move into this dynamic industry.
You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast player, just search "The PR Pod".
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Loved this episode? Want to learn more about working in PR? Take a listen to some of our other podcasts here.