What It Takes to Be Great at Public Relations

As a marketing student, I am realizing that the marketing profession encompasses a wide variety of careers.  Without experience in the field, it is often difficult to know where you would fit in best.  I was curious about the area of public relations.  What type of person does it take to be a successful public relations professional?  Would my personality and skills be right for such a career?  Would I enjoy it?  These are all valid questions that anyone pondering the idea of a career in public relations should ask themselves. So what makes a great PR professional?

The first thing that a public relations professional must possess is technical skill.  They must have a solid understanding of the public relations field, and they must have a desire to keep up with current events.  They need to be proficient with computers, and they should understand basic business practices.  Both written and verbal communication skills are imperative, and management skills are a big plus. (Seitel, 2014, p.15)

Another aspect to consider is personality.  Some personal qualities fit with certain careers better than others. For example, a very shy and timid person may not be comfortable in a public relations role.  On the other hand, a person who enjoys communicating with the public would be quite comfortable.  PR professionals must be honest, ethical, and believe in what they are doing and who they are representing.  They need a positive attitude and the ability to “bounce back” after a fall. Lastly, a good PR person is not afraid to take a risk and stand up for what they believe. (Seitel, 2014, p.15-16)

PR Traits

Image courtesy of Traits of a PR Pro | JSH&A

Food for thought:

Think about PR professionals that you either know personally or know because they are in the news.  Do they possess the above traits?  Can you think of a PR professional that you consider to be really good at his/her job? What sets them apart from others in the field?

Reference

Seitel, F. P. (2014). The Practice of Public Relations 12th Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.