In three short months I will be off in the real world and whether or not I have a job is yet to be determined, but I will continue to try and develop professionally along the way. When I do get a job, it’s important not to get complacent because as PR professionals, we must coninuously hone our skills and adjust to new trends. Based on several articles I read, here is my list of what I think we need to be focusing on to broaden our skills.
1. Focus on writing!
This one isn’t really a new skills, but it’s one I always hear. While I’m not the perfect writer – I can hold my own. I have improved my writing skills immensely because I practiced – it’s the only way other than reading to become a better writing. As PR professionals we need to communicate succinctly.
2. Learn how to create and edit video
While telling stories through a written medium is important, it’s just as important to tell a story visually. A picture says a 1,000 words, but a video says more. As the world becomes more visual, PR professionals must have the skills necessary to reach their audience. If you don’t know how to use video editing software, YouTube is a good place to start.
3. Learn to code
While we might not be asked to create websites, we may need to override certain codes in WordPress or fix part of a website. It’s also a skill not everyone has, so it will set you apart from others. There is a great resource such as codeacademy which allows one to learn coding on their on through step by step tutorials.
4. Embrace math
I’ve heard the following phrase many times, “I got into PR to avoid math.” Well sorry to disappoint you, but your former math teachers were right – Math is everywhere. As a PR professional, we work with businesses whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a nonprofit, it’s still a business. In business the only way to communicate effectively is to speak numbers. They don’t care what you did, they care about the results and how many impressions the campaign received or how many sales it led to. Always think numbers and remember to analyze numerical trends to see what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
5. Get out of your comfort zone when learning
As PR professionals, it’s important to be well rounded because we never know who and what we have to work with. Additionally, the more we know, the more connections we can make to appeal to different people. During college, I challenged myself to take internships in different industries so I could get a feel of how each works. Working for a hospital is different than working for technology, but there are certain connections that can be seen. If there’s a subject you don’t really care for, study it anyway – you may be surprised to find that it’s not as bad as it sounds. Remember be well rounded and don’t just stick with what’s comfortable. If I did that, I’d be pursuing sports PR and I know that’s not what I should be doing right now.
6. Take initiative
Learn. Learn. Learn. It can’t be said enough. If you can’t take coding or a design class, the only thing stopping you from learning is yourself. There are many resources online and on YouTube that can help you. If you really want to be a PR professional, go after it!