Our first brush with the realities of the professional world is always overwhelming. Be it a good or a bad experience. Glad to say that I have a good experience to share. Finding the perfect job for ourselves is something we start dreaming about since the early days of college. Not only does it mean financial independence it also means moving a step closer to who we want to be and making a mark in our chosen profession. But we are left clueless even within days of completing college on how to reach there…especially if it is not your typical profession where every family will know someone who is into it and will connect you to give you bucket loads of advice on. I wanted to be in PR. Well! my parents were stumped. They thought I would pick a nice job as a teacher or look at doing a management course or become a doctor or an engineer like they wanted. So moving ahead and finding a mentor or a job was not easy. I still plodded on and applied for the job I saw on an online PR forum. I researched the company and really wanted to be a part of the team. I was lucky enough to land the job. It is super interesting to note that it is better than what the textbooks taught me!
PR textbook wise is reputation management and publicizing news. But it is so much more than that. How much more is what I’m here to tell you.
Not just making news big. Creating news: PR is not only to retain a buzz. It’s about creating a buzz. It is equally relevant to creative careers that people take up. Not only do PR professionals spend time managing news that needs to be announced, they also look at creating interesting news pegs that is tailor-made to a publication…right down to a journalist. That is more intriguing than regular press conferences, launches and events. So if you are on the creative side and are good at making plans and events PR is for you.
Write away: It is about more than writing an email. Writing is one of the most important skills that a PR professional needs at every level. The perfect media pitch and the perfectly worded release or invite is crucial to the success of an event. You have to captivate the audience with only your words most of the times. Not just writing but creative writing while keeping the facts straight and simple is also very essential. So if you love writing on various diverse subjects and are up for the challenge then this is a great field to be. I was thrilled at the opportunity to write so much.
Contacts: We are talking about more than Facebook and followers. Contacts in the media help you get to the right people for the right story. The more you socialize, the larger your network and larger is the pool of contacts that you can choose from to pitch your story. The various levels of contacts you make within the client and media industry is just mind-blowing. Plus the knowledge that you gain from them is simply amazing. No college or textbook will give you this kind of an education.
Walk the talk: All those college presentations at the last moment, rehearsals, checklists, team management, fund searches, falling and fumbling yet quickly thinking on your feet as disaster-hit before a college festival will be the biggest skill and strongest experience that will help you on the job. I honestly thought it would be the exams I gave and the marks I scored. I couldn’t be further away from the truth. The ability to think clearly and see the larger picture while planning and getting things done will always keep you ahead. These are the skills you will be applauded for in PR. As I understand it, PR is all about balancing the fine line between being in the time and thinking ahead of time.
Working your team! If you are anxious to let go of your friends and your social circle after college cast your doubts away. Because PR is all about teamwork. And no doubt you will have a great time with all the mashups going on. Helping one another and brainstorming for ideas is a daily routine for PR professionals. And it’s super fun! I get to contribute ideas – however wild and crazy; for clients that are completely different from my set of work.
Keeps the grey cells alive: To be able to see the bigger picture and connect all the dots is just an amazing thrill and rush. I never realized how effective or important one conversation, a note, a text or a press release could be and how it can change the whole equation or have a domino effect. It is thrilling to see a campaign in actual execution. It was all cut and dry when I read it as a case study in college. But to actually see and feel the enormity of PR impact is an amazing workout for your grey cells.
All said and done, PR has got more to do with responsibility, leadership, credibility and integrity and till you experience it you will not know what it entails. What we see or learn in college contributes to 10% of what it actually entails to work as a PR professional. I am lucky I found a great team to work with and I am loving every minute of it!
“Love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life”
Manju Parab | Nucleus PR