Careers in Public Relations and Communications

Public Relations, is it all glam and glory?

The pull of PR is one that is usually met with praise from onlookers (undertones of jealousy included). But is it all on the surface and as glamorous as you’ve pictured, read about or seen on TV?

Do you find yourself casually watching the PR girl at events in her power heels and outfit commanding the event, mingling and making sure everything is in place thinking, I could do that too?

Public Relations isn’t just for any individual. to be successful in the industry, you need to constantly focus on building meaningful (reliable) relationships, have a knack for writing, staying in the loop (read: news junkie), creativity, the passion for helping brands grow and the ability to stay cool in a crisis.

Test your suitability for PR by answering these questions:

Are you interested in what’s happening around you?

As a public relations professional, you need to be aware and be in the know about current issues and trends across the globe. You will need to digest all kinds of news on a daily basis to keep yourself up to date.

Are you passionate about writing?

The types of writing you will need to know include journalistic writing which is knowing what’s important and communicating crucial information first. Your writing will need to grab and hold the reader’s attention and interest immediately.

You will also be doing copywriting. This is essentially using words to persuade and hook your target audience, motivate them, inspire action and align with their personal goals. Copywriting is done in print, for radio and video content too.

The final product of your story can manifest in different forms. Especially visuals. It is important for public relations professionals to understand and create messages that match the different communication channels.

Dave Fleet, Senior Vice President of Digital in Edelman’s (a global communications marketing firm) Toronto office offers this golden tip: “If you could put “by zombies” at the end of a phrase, it’s passive. Keep your voice active.”

Are you a good communicator?

As with any industry, having strong people skills can open many doors. This skill is especially crucial for public relations professionals. It is at the heart of what you do. Your interpersonal skills need to be solid as you will be building rapport with C-suites, clients, sales personnel, technical experts, marketing staff, journalists, and customers.

How do you cope under pressure?

Something unexpected that threatens the reputation of your client may pop up. A poorly worded tweet, a comment taken out of context, or a mishap with a product or service. Are you ready to take control of the situation in a delicate, swift and professional manner? Crisis management is one thing you will need to be prepared for at the drop of a hat.

It helps to brainstorm possible scenarios and solutions as early as possible so if something bad does go down, you’re equipped to handle it with protocols in place. Your work will include identifying causes of problems, analysing future trends and predicting their consequences. The key here is understanding the difference between proactive public relations and crisis communications.

Can you multitask?

As a public relations practitioner, you need to be able to analyse and anticipate management’s needs and provide counsel as and when it is necessary. At the same time, you’ll need to research public opinion, attitudes, and expectations on a daily basis. Your day to day includes planning, organising, and coordinating different tasks with a strong vision in mind. Having a global mindset helps as more brands and companies are crossing borders.

Bonus: Advice from industry professionals

“Improve your writing skills and learn how to write in a concise, clear and compelling way.

Know that it’s not all about the glam at events. It’s a lot of behind the scenes hard work to bring the event to life.

Be brave to face all kinds of characters in the industry and always treat everyone with equal respect and professionalism.

Keep yourself updated with the latest communication/digital trends. In this digital age, you have to be quick to spot an opportunity or you might miss the boat.”

– Kalai, Senior PR & Marketing Executive


“Always be a ‘kepochi’ or ‘busybody’. Not only in the industry that you’re representing, your company or client but overall current affairs, trends and social behaviours. It’s crucial to stay informed and on trend with current affairs so that you are able to leverage on that to create opportunities for your company or client to stay relevant.”

– Joeanne, Senior Executive, Marketing

Ready for PR? Here are the opportunities for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *