Want a Job in PR? Make Sure These 4 Skills Are Up To Par

As we all know, the economy is still in a bit of a slump. Not that it should discourage you new graduates from seeking a job, but rather, it should put emphasis on the importance of gaining certain skill sets from previous internships or jobs that will help you to score the job you want.

A couple days ago, I read a Ragan article by Jeremy Porter that talked about the 4 skills PR newbies should possess (if they want a job). I found this article very intriguing mainly because I had no idea (being a PR major myself) that these skills were going to be that important in the PR world, until I started my first job in PR.

Below are the four skills that Porter says are crucial for PR newbies:

1) Writing Skills In PR you will always be writing, whether it be press releases, speaking proposals, marketing materials, emailing…etc. It’s a staple in this industry and in order to increase the chances of making yourself an appealing PR job candidate try to bring the following:

- Sample articles you wrote. Better yet, bring ones that have been published.

- A variety of writing samples. Articles that are written about different subjects and ideas, blog posts, press releases…etc.

- New-media writing samples. Not your personal blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts, but professional samples written on behalf of an organization.

- Long-form writing samples. These can include, research reports, public relations plans, marketing plans…etc.

2) Internship Experience You’ll increase your chances of being considered for a PR job if you’ve had a couple different PR-related internships under your belt – ideally ones with agencies or larger companies. It’s important that you can show examples of stories you pitched and placed, press releases you drafted and/or campaigns you organized or assisted with that generated positive results. Also, if you can demonstrate you can work well in a communications department or on an account team, that will increase your chances of being considered.

3) Social Media Experience Nowadays everything seems to be linked back to social media. Demonstrating your expertise in all the different and widely used platforms is crucial, especially when dealing with clients, because a lot of the time in PR, they will want you to help them establish their brand voices, develop content and implement marketing campaigns across these channels. If you don’t know what you’re doing or how to tackle and address their social media accounts, you’re not only beginning to lose your credentials for managing social media, but your clients’ trust and that’s never a good thing.

4) Multimedia Experience This is the most interesting skill of the four. If you possess skills one through three and also four, you make yourself a pretty difficult candidate to pass by. Below is a list of a few stellar multimedia skills that will surely make you shine in an interview:

- You have a blog that generates revenue. We’re talking about including ads or AdWords to your blog that generate money. This demonstrates your advanced skills to set up and customize a blog.

- You know how to use Photoshop or similar photo altering software. This skill doesn’t necessarily have to be super advanced. It could be as simple as putting some text above an image. However, if you know how to create your own infographics, for example, more power to you.

- You know how to shoot, edit and post videos to YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing platforms. If you have the ability to create a video and then generate views on it – bingo!

- You are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO). For instance, Google Panda update – understanding that it changes the way content is ranked on Google. It’s all about knowing how to generate results and how to figure out the effectiveness of your content out there on the web.

- You know how to code. This is what Porter described in his article as a “far-fetched” kind of skill to have. If you don’t have much experience in coding, don’t worry – it’s not an issue. But, if you do know a little bit about PHP or Javascript, hands down, you’ll most likely rise straight up to the top of the applicant list.

If the above list discusses skills that you know you possess, then your chances of scoring a PR job look pretty good. However, if the list above describes skills that you know you need to work on, then take the time to engage in an internship or class, or teach yourself. The more skills you have from this list, the better your chances are.

NOTE: This is Lynn’s last blog post for DJA as she moves on to advance her career.  Good luck Lynn, and thanks for all the posts!

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