As a graduate with a degree in communication, I knew I wanted to pursue a career within public relations. I had spent my entire academic career preparing for a job in the industry, taking in every bit of information my courses had to offer – but I knew I needed real-world experience. Once I had graduated, I didn’t want just any old job – I wanted an opportunity that would provide me with a chance to delve deeper into the field and foster professional growth. I focused my job search efforts on finding a position that would offer me those opportunities. But with so many different career paths to consider, how do you know a particular position will give you the experience you need to position yourself toward a fruitful career?
I came to the realization that there are quite a few career paths to choose from in the public relations industry. Should I work for a nonprofit or a corporation? Which industry sector is the right fit? What about an in-house vs. agency environment? After months of researching public relations opportunities and submitting countless applications, cover letters and resumes, I accepted a public relations internship role at R&J Strategic Communications. I quickly learned that agency life provides a rich, fast-paced environment that offers virtually endless opportunities to learn and grow as a PR professional. Here’s my reasoning why:
You’re exposed to an eclectic mix of clients and industries. The agency environment allows you to work with a wide variety of clients from varying industries. At R&J, clients range from larger, well-known brands to smaller, local businesses, specializing in industries such as technology, commercial real estate, healthcare, banking and more. Working with such differing organizations requires you to change your mind set daily to match the personality and branding of the client. One day you’ll step in the shoes of a C-suite executive in commercial real estate, the next you’re imagining yourself in the consumer technology industry. The knowledge you gain from working with various clients allows you to broaden your PR experience, and more importantly, pinpoint which industry you may want to specialize in in the future.
You’re tasked with a variety of assignments. Since each client has differing needs, no two days will be the same as every work day brings new and exciting projects to complete. Especially in agencies like R&J that have adapted to the digital landscape, your daily assignments won’t end at traditional PR tasks. In addition to clipping and reporting client coverage, drafting press releases and media outreach, I get to work on other tasks including drafting and scheduling social media posts, influencer outreach and blog posting. The chance to work on a variety of assignments ensures you’ll gain well-rounded knowledge of the type of work needed to satisfy the demands of modern clients.
You further develop your skill set. Through managing and completing daily tasks and responsibilities, you’ll learn valuable, important skills necessary to thrive in the PR industry. Since agency life is fast-paced and constantly changing, you’ll quickly grow and strengthen essential skills such as:
- Time Management – Balancing several clients and projects with multiple deadlines can be hectic at times. You’ll learn how to tackle assignments with attention to timeliness and efficiency. (To-do lists will be your best friend!)
- Adaptability – Client needs can change in an instant. You’ll quickly learn how to adjust to situations accordingly.
- Written and Verbal Communication – From interacting with reporters, clients and colleagues, to completing a plethora of writing assignments, your experience with such tasks will strengthen your communication abilities.
- Creativity – Developing content for clients requires you to think of fresh, new ideas. Over time, working with a range of clients and projects in a fast-paced environment will help you sharpen your creative skills.
Last but certainly not least, you get to work with the best in the business. Working with the PR pros at R&J has taught me that these individuals are seriously PR gurus. As an agency’s sole purpose is to deliver a particular service, these individuals have spent years mastering the development and implementation of effective communication strategies. Demonstrated in their many awards and honors, these PR pros leverage their extensive experience and knowledge to make a difference for their clients. Getting the chance to work with these passionate individuals not only provides you with an unparalleled learning opportunity, but motivates you to want to become one of the best in the business, too.
Are you ready to begin working toward a rewarding and successful career in public relations? See R&J’s current employment opportunities here.