Four Things to Know When Looking for your First PR Job
Recently I had the opportunity to speak about integrated marketing and the future of PR at my alma mater, Hofstra University, in a conference sponsored by their chapter of PRSSA. I was surprised to see so many hands go up after my presentation with questions less about the content of what I presented, and more about my specific role at the agency, what’s it like working at Hunter, and any pointers and tips I could share for these soon-to-be college graduates. In my four plus years at Hunter PR, I’ve seen the agency grow in size and scope, but also in our ability to adapt to the ever-changing world of PR. With that in mind, I put myself in their shoes and thought about what I would want to know in 2015 if I was just starting my career in PR.
Media list building – Perhaps the crux of any entry-level role, it is important to know the ins and outs of building the best media list. It is much more than clicking ‘export’ on a Cision report. For print and online outlets, when was the last time the editor/reporter had a new story posted? Has their beat changed recently? For broadcast, is the assignment editor or producer working on a specific hour of the show? Do they do in-studio only or will they shoot in the field? It’s all about taking the time to do your research.
Microsoft Excel – My first friend at Hunter PR was Excel… in all seriousness, every entry-level employee will spend many hours a day working in Excel, so it’s extremely important to become as familiar with the platform as possible. From monitoring reports to budget trackers to media lists, I learned many tips and tricks along the way to help me not only save time, but also provide my clients with the most efficient and accurate information.
The Power of Networking – *Scenario!* Remember that elective photo journalism class you took with that one student who always had the best photos? Well, that kid is now photo editor at Buzzfeed. Gasp! *End scenario* Reach out to that person and “reintroduce” yourself – you never know when you might call upon that contact for a future client need. In PR, it’s all about who you know.
Social Media Expertise – In our ever-changing world of PR, the rise of social media has been at the forefront of new programs, app development, and more. Keep your public profiles professional – if you’re following media on your social channels, engage with them. Soft sounding an idea to a reporter on Twitter could turn into an innovative win for your client. A placement on social media can be as valuable and have just as large of a reach as a traditional placement.
From the editors: If these tips from Lisa aren’t enough, check out this interview with our 2015 Barbara Hunter Fellow and what she learned during her time at Hunter PR this pst summer.