Top 5 Public Relations Skills that College Couldn’t Teach Me

Posted on December 10, 2014

Top 5 Public Relations Skills that College Couldn’t Teach Me

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As a public relations major at Auburn University, I learned how to write a standard press release in my sleep. It wasn’t until I ventured outside of the classroom, into the real world, that I began grasping some valuable tips that weren’t in the pages of Strunk and White’s, The Elements of Style. Below are five public relations skills that I didn’t learn in college:

1.) Learn how to prioritize very well. In the fast pace and high volume world of PR, it is crucial to write down all tasks because if you don’t, you’ll never remember them all. Starting off, you will have a lot to wrap your brain around. Be sure to have an organizational system that works for you, like a notebook or Outlook task bar to keep important deadlines, reminders and deliverables in one place.

2.) Assignments will take longer than you expect. In college, you may have extensively looked over a fairly standard press release before you turned it into your teacher. In the field, your supervisor won’t give you an A+ for a standard, by-the-book release. Clients want more than cut-and-paste, safe-writing techniques. They want you to push the envelope, and they demand the information you’re sending out will make their company shine. A lot of practice and re-writing will mold your skills in time.

3.) It’s a group effort. Your coworkers have been in your shoes and have inside information about how to handle certain situations. If you don’t think you’re going to meet a deadline or if you aren’t 100 percent sure how to do something, ask them for advice. They want you to do well because it reflects well on the firm or department. Investing yourself in the company will further your desire to succeed for the firm, the client and yourself.

4.) Initiative is a highly revered trait. Learning new techniques and applications makes you a valuable member of any team. When a problem arises, brainstorm or research a few possible solutions before seeking help. Speaking up about new concepts and ideas shows your interest in your work. When you think outside the scope of what’s expected, you are guaranteed to wow your clients and your boss.

5.) Shoot for the stars. As cliché as it sounds, you never know what you can accomplish if you don’t try. And think big: Working day by day for a big goal will get you one step closer to accomplishing it. Writing one paragraph of a long tedious bylined article is still one paragraph more than you had previously. If you continue to push out good work, the momentum will push you toward big rewards.

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