PR, prportfolio
March 25, 2012 10:30 PM   Subscribe

How can I prepare myself for a career in public relations?

I am going to be graduating with a degree in communications (major) and english (minor) in August of 2012.

After that, I am going to spend a year working at my current workplace in order to save cash and figure out my next steps.

I would also like to take this time to prepare myself for a career in PR.

So, what are some suggestions or resources when it comes to developing a basic foundation for all things PR related. What does a PR portfolio include? How do I create a PR portfolio?

Any other suggestions or resources (books, podcasts, website links, etc...) are welcome. Thank you!
posted by livinglearning to Work & Money (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is it feasible for you, economically, to spend the time you're spending on classes now doing unpaid PR work this summer for some non-profit that appeals to you on a personal or ethical level? Finding an organization that still lacks a social media presence and helping them arrange for regular content there might be a very meaningful thing you could do, mainly by spending time in their office regularly to talk to people about what's worth mentioning and getting a little approval to post it. All other things being equal, I'd guess the more significant the non-profit, the less significant your contribution will be, but also the more likely that their PR people know what's up and can steer you well.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:18 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google is thine friend: Construction a PR portfolio

To reiterate the Monsieur: PR is as much art as science, and the only way to get the skills is by practicing them. [ link ]
posted by nickrussell at 1:44 AM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a starter: Polish and hone your public social media presence. If you don't tweet, start doing so - but figure out how to use it effectively first. Prove you know how to build and maintain a community and engage in discours there.

Start a blog. Write well. Be careful to present your opinions in a professional, non-inflammatory manner. Don't reveal too much about your personal life.

I work in PR for a rapidly growing web company. Candidates who can show us their experience with social media are immediately more attractive to us.
posted by guessthis at 1:51 AM on March 26, 2012


-See if you can shadow or intern a few hours a week with a private PR firm.
-Try the non-profit work, they are always looking for ways to amp up their marketing to their audiences.
-Join a young professional group with PR/Communications/Marketing background or any YP network.
-If you have ever done clippings or research on projects put them together in a portfolio. Any work that got recognition or placement you should keep.
posted by melizabeth at 4:25 AM on March 26, 2012


Yeah, you should definitely get an internship or two under your belt. Work experience in PR is so much more important than the theory.

The local school we hire all of our PR students from graduates people with four year degrees, which is nice, but they also have 3 co-op terms and 3 summer internships under their belt by the time they graduate. These students are picked across the country because they're work-ready, understand what it's like to actually be in PR and come with references from relevant experience.

So yeah, if you can't find a job immediately in the field, see if you can intern somewhere. The couple of months you spend doing that will be invaluable for your job search.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:40 AM on March 26, 2012


Oh, and in addition to an internship, many of our students volunteer with local charities and organizations and provide PR services to them. This is a GREAT way to build your portfolio and makes you look like a super human being in the process.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:41 AM on March 26, 2012


Also, look out for graduate training schemes. They are often very popular and may start their decision process months before actual admissions start- so you might need to apply to join one next January in order to start working on one in September 2013.
posted by KateViolet at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2012


To give you an edge over other candidates trying to get PR jobs you might want to try working in TV news for a while. PR firms frequently like people with real-life media experience. While working as a low-level producer, I saw a lot of PR failures. You can learn from that. If you know how the inside of a newsroom works. You can better communicate with news people later in your PR career.
Your profile says Canada. Not sure what TV news is like there, but here in the US if you live in a bigger city, The local TV usually have a need for part-time producers.

Also, in the US we have the PRSA. If you can join it in CAN, do. They have a lot of resources for people like you.
posted by hot_monster at 8:47 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the answers so far.

Question: What's your take on 1-2 year PR related programs such as certificates or diplomas? I am considering pursuing one after my break just because it will help me further develop material for a portfolio...
posted by livinglearning at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2012


It occurs to me that, while you're still a student, it's fairly likely someone in your school's public affairs department would be willing to sit down with you for an hour to talk about their own career path and offer you pretty concrete advice. Start with an email to someone like a VP of Communications / Public Affairs, asking if you could meet either with them or get an opinion via email about who might be interested in talking about their career. Anyone there who's involved in hiring would know what a good public relations resume looks like and whether a postgraduate certificate would be very helpful.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:14 PM on March 26, 2012


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