This may be a broad generalisation, but typically, your first job will probably not be as you would have expected. At that age, you probably have a limited understanding of you would LIKE to do, and what you CAN do. There are, however, some signs that can tell you if a certain type of work is for you. For the profession of Public Relations, for example, there are a few inherent qualities that some of the happiest PR professionals possess, some of which we’re synthesising here.
You will be successful and content in PR if:
You like writing
Writing is a big part of the work of PR professionals, and being passionate about it beforehand gives you an added edge. Whether it's writing professionally or maintaining a personal blog/journal, if you’ve had a habit of articulating ideas and opinions, you’re in good stead to be in PR.
You like staying updated
A PR pro is expected to receive the most holistic picture of a news happening, the fastest. If it comes naturally to you to stay connected to several reliable news & information sources, or updated on happenings around you through social media or your personal networks, then PR could be the space you want to be in.
You are connected 24X7
The converse of the above is also true, i.e. when you are in the habit of content sharing. Social media has enabled extensive reach for interesting content and opinions to be shared with a variety of listeners. In an informal setting, such sharing can hone the tact of storytelling, which is inherent to the PR profession. So the more you do it off work, the more applicable it becomes on work.
You like to build trust-based relationships
While networking skills are important in media services in general, building meaningful connections that go beyond basic utility is integral to this profession. As we’ve pointed out earlier, this is one of the few professions that has three kinds of stakeholders to be managed, and therefore those who possess the knack of building valuable relationships are very well suited for it.
You are street smart
Besides factoring in overwhelmingly large amounts of information, the profession requires a lot of thinking on the feet. The need for this is amplified by the insight mentioned above; that you have several kinds of stakeholders with whom to liaise. Moreover, the reaction times that connected PR professionals of today get could be fractionally small. This quality can bridge the dangerous experience deficit with which a lot of young professionals will enter the profession.
You can handle stress
The profession was titled one of the most stressful jobs in 2014. Due to the dynamism, variety of stakeholders and their expectations and the stakes that are usually high for PR mandates, PR professionals require a mental strength to continue to push the envelope regardless the amount of stress. A good PR professional will, to put it crudely, have a skin thick enough, to brush minor setbacks aside and continue with the task at hand
You are courageous
This means that you are not afraid to take calculated risks every now and then. PR professionals often need to be fearless with their creativity and execute their ideas backed with complete faith. You are a great fit for the profession if you are able to take that extra plunge that can be the difference between mild and great success.
You settle only for excellence
The interesting environment that presence of several stakeholders around you will create, will often comprise of different standards and definitions of excellence. Therefore PR professionals tend to strive for excellence in the absolute sense rather than towards the expectations of their stakeholders. Like several others in this list, this trait is inherent and therefore makes for important criteria of fitment.
You are ethical
PR professionals pride themselves in maintaining the highest standards of ethics. While this may go contrary to the belief of several outsiders, within the profession the line of ethical standards is treaded extremely carefully. This is not only expected out of young entrants to the fraternity but also inculcated widely as the professionals therein believe in their own capabilities to deliver results rather than rely on any other means.
You want to do different things every day
If you like not knowing what to expect, nor having a routine well defined for you, this profession could be a good fit. The dynamism of this profession maintains a certain level of unpredictability. While some may prefer it to be more routine, this is a table stake of the profession and you are very suited for it if you like uncertainty and tackling new things.
Hemant Gaule, Deputy Dean, School of Communications & Reputation
After graduating from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Hemant has been a communications professional with experience in corporate & brand communications of diverse brand portfolios; counselling several Private Sector entities, & Social, Political & Government initiatives. He was a part of a team that spearheaded the national election campaign of India’s current Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. In 2015 Hemant co-created India’s first institute dedicated to PR education, along with the Indian PR industry.