Your resume doesn’t say “B.A. in Public Relations” on it? Don’t panic – you aren’t immediately disqualified from the PR race. But, if you aren’t on track as a communication major, or your school days are a distant memory, you can still make sure you have the necessary and desired skills to be in public relations.
Inspiration from PR in Your Pajamas 10 time-tested PR Skills That Will Never Go Out of Style, I decided to come up with my own skills that I believe are important to have when applying for PR jobs. Degree or no degree the following five skills are necessary:
- Management: You may find yourself to be in situations where multiple clients and projects are all labeled “important.” Being able to recognize deadlines and high versus low priority tasks is a valuable skill.
- Attention to detail: If you are in a position to look over documents or facts for verification, patience and paying close attention are very important. If you glance over an incorrect fact, you could do harm to your company.
- Phone communication skills: The phone rings off the hook in PR. Be able to speak professionally and with an awareness of when you should direct a conversation to someone more capable. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will gladly find out and get back to you as soon as possible.” In PR, it’s better to be correct than to be quick.
- Computer skills: Typing is a must. You’ll be doing a lot of email work, sending press releases, email alerts, proposals, etc. Knowing how to navigate Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook is important. Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, InDesign, and web page-creating programs are also good to brush up on. If you don’t have experience using these programs, I suggest taking a class or picking up a how-to manual from the bookstore.
- Organization: A key attribute for any employee, especially in an office. When you start at the bottom of the ladder, keeping yourself and your superiors organized can help you climb toward more responsibility.