Getting into PR Consulting

Becoming a PR Consultant, or even launching your own public relations firm seems to be a profession that is open to all who have the necessary skills.

There are several ways you can get involved in public relations, and here are a few:

Get Involved
As with many freelance careers, if that’s what you choose, in order to become a freelance pr consultant, you will need to have a portfolio to back yourself up.

Of course, that’s a classic chicken and egg scenario – you’ll never find work to go in your portfolio unless you have work in your portfolio! The answer? Get involved with charities in your area, where you can pick up valuable experience, and do a little good too!

You could also look for volunteer opportunities online, or even post an ad on a free classifieds website offering a free service, and explaining your desire to “intern.”

Take a Course
This is probably the more conventional route to a pr consultant job. Taking a course at a college or university is certainly one way to get your foot in the door so to speak.

Your qualification also need not be strictly speaking in public relations – you could opt for a course in journalism or communications, and use that as a basis for your career.

While a formal qualification may make finding a job easier, you may find that you still need to do a lot of networking and charity work in order to build a portfolio, before finding a job, or starting your own business.

Networking
Networking within the public relations industry, and your local business community as a whole can make finding a job a lot easier – whether it’s formal employment you’re looking for, or your first freelance assignment.

Look out for pr and marketing networking groups in your area, join in on local chamber of commerce meetings, and get listed on online networking sites such Plaxo as Linkedin.

As the saying goes – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! So build your network, and make yourself as visible as possible – eventually, you should land a job or contract.

Whichever route you choose to take to a career in pr, there are a few skills and aptitudes you will need to possess. These include:

  • People skills. Dealing with a wide variety of people, and maintaining a friendly demeanor when things go awry, are one of the skills most pr’s need to learn.
  • The ability to strategize and take advantage of marketing possibilities.
  • Writing abilities. Part of your job as a pr professional will be to prepare press releases and similar documents, so your writing skills need to be finely honed.
  • Effective oral communication.

Along with these basic skills, it helps to be a good organizer, and the ability to work well under pressure.

If you have these attributes, then a career in PR may be for you, or you may want to consider opening your own public relations consulting firm. Either way, you’re on your way to a challenging and rewarding career in an exciting field.

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    One of our readers points out that the information in this article is very much for the beginner and didn’t go into enough detail. We appreciate your feedback and have more PR articles lined up and they’ll be going into greater detail.

    *Note to our readers: If you’re a PR pro and would like to contribute an article and share your experiences with thousands of others, we’d love to hear from you.

    We thank David Kirk of The PR Guy for suggesting the following resources for those interested in becoming a Public Relations Consultant:

    The Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations
    http://www.praccreditation.org/becomeAPR/KSAs_Competencies.html

    The official statement on public relations by the Public Relations Society of America, which gives an overview of the roles of public relations: http://www.prsa.org/aboutUs/officialStatement.html