Written by Stephanie Taylor, Group Account Director
Throughout my role at AMPR, I am lucky enough to be a mentor to many young PRs both within the agency and the wider communications industry. Time and time again, I find myself imparting the same advice – all of which I wish I was given as a young PR myself.
So here goes… five nuggets of advice for a 20-something PR Professional (written by a 30-something PR professional)
- SPEAK UP, and trust your voice
Many young PRs I meet suffer from low professional confidence and find it hard to find their voice in the industry. I can relate – because this was me for most of my early 20s! The only way I combatted my fear of voicing opinions and putting forward recommendations in a room full of colleagues or clients was via years of practice and achieving great incomes when doing so.
As a PR professional, you have a seat at the table for a reason – to provide advice as a valued and trusted communications representative. From your first day on the job, you should always aim to attend a meeting with something to say – whether it be an industry update, a blue-sky idea or a new recommendation!Take the time to prepare before a big meeting – practice your words with a colleague! Trust your gut, speak confidently and seek feedback.
- You got a rep to protect
Our industry is small…REALLY REALLY SMALL… and in a profession built largely on relationships, your professional reputation can mean so much in getting ahead (or left behind). Always be reliable, trustworthy, kind and respectful to your industry peers. Your reputation will always come back to help (or haunt) you! You never know…one day your intern could next be your client, your manager, or a future journalist you want to pitch to.
- Love your industry = love your job.
To enjoy working in PR, you must understand that it’s (generally) not a Mon-Fri, 9-5 kind of industry. There are late nights, early mornings, long days and urgent weekend phone calls. The news agenda never sleeps (nor do stressed clients or CEOs!)
Once you come to accept the hard work and sometimes long hours, you’ll soon discover that a job in PR is incredibly exciting, extremely rewarding and will give you a buzz that you’ll become addicted to! Your colleagues can become your best friends (and your family) and you’ll gladly give up an evening to lend a hand to your “work wife” at her after-hours event. Such is PR.
- Create long term relationships
As you know, in this industry, relationships are everything. I suggest creating a “little black book” of those you’ve formed relationships with over your career. Regularly check in with these contacts (read: friends) – grab a coffee, wish them a happy birthday and create a meaningful relationship. From suppliers (who can speed up an order) to journos (who can get a placement over the line), to VIPs (who’ll swing past that event as a favour), you never know who you’ll need to ask a cheeky favour of. The more people you know, the more access you have to nailing your job in PR.
- Dress for the job you want… not for the job you have… (both literally and metaphorically)
While it’s a good idea to dress the part, it’s the acting it that counts. As a young PR, you will hopefully have a career goal in mind, and it’s important to work toward that objective every day of your career. Put your hand up for that networking event, that training, mentoring, or extra client project! Take your job seriously and you in turn will be taken seriously – particularly when it comes to being considered for that next step in your career. And more literally – always have a black suit jacket hanging behind your chair, for that last-minute meeting youforgot aboutarranged or impromptu after work team drinks!
There you have it PRs… all the best! x