As a senior at the University of Oregon, my friends and I at the School of Journalism and Communication have been overwhelmed by one vast topic: job-hunting. In the four years of our undergrad, we have accumulated a general laundry list of to do’s and what not to do’s in order to set yourself apart. I’ve learned the importance of networking, having strong writing skills, and being persistent. As important as these attributes were, I knew there had to be more precise and specific details that public relations practitioners were looking for. I spoke to practitioners that range from recent college graduates to veterans in the field to see what skills our generation needed to be a driving force for public relations.
I spoke to an old colleague who works in the technology sector of pr and here are the attributes she believes make an entry-level candidate stand out:
- Confidence to speak up, offer suggestions/opinions
- Be news-savvy (Research!)
- Be Detailed-oriented
- Have a working knowledge of PowerPoint and Excel
- Again, have strong research skills
- Be Enthusiastic about PR
I then interviewed Kevin Elliott, Senior VP of Hill & Knowlton San Francisco, who has been with H&K since 1996 and offered the following words of wisdom for young public relations practitioners:
“I get excited when I meet a recent graduate who is a really good writer and a critical thinker to go with the writing skills. The other thing that has to be obvious are interpersonal and social skills. We need to be able to connect with people; with our colleagues and our clients as well as others on whom we depend to do this work. The ones who come in here showing real personality and charisma get a leg up and they tend to be more successful and resilient. I love it when a new hire comes in with a real excitement about what communication can do to change behavior, excite change and be a real disruptive force for good, for productivity and for real, measurable movement in social norms.”
From this list, we see that practitioners of all ages and from different backgrounds value particular skills and qualifications. Each pr candidate will be different, but it never hurts to be as prepared as possible.
PR students, practitioners, and professors, do you have more words of wisdom to share?