Public Relations by Jeannette Duwe: Here are things to consider if your next job might be in PR Public Relations

Jeannette Duwe, owner of Duwe Public Relations and a former journalistMay 7, 2013 

Jeannette Duwe

Are you employed in your dream job? According to a 2010 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans born between the years of 1957 and 1964 changed jobs an average of 11 times between the ages of 18 and 44. That’s a lot of career movement!

The reasons for changing careers are many, varying from greater career aspirations to boredom, to desiring a better workplace environment.

Personally, I haven’t changed careers 11 times (yet!), but I have made significant shifts — from television news to corporate public relations to owning my own PR consulting firm. In truth, one of the things I love most about consulting is that the work changes with enough frequency to keep my job fresh and fun.

Over the years, I’ve had many people considering a public relations career ask me how to get their foot in the door. If you are considering a career in PR here are a few tips to consider and get started.

Ask questions. When a person requests a meeting to talk with me about what I do, and how they can get into public relations, I always say “You’ve started in the right spot.” Whether you are in college or mid-life, before making a big career decision, investigate! Meet with people and job shadow when possible. Meet with as many pros at different levels (from junior account executives to top-level PR executives) and ask them about their jobs. Find out about their background, how they made the transition into PR, what they love about their work — and what they hate.

Find a mentor. Once you’ve made the decision to transition, find a mentor who can help you navigate your way. Do you need additional education? What experience will you need before an employer will consider you as a viable job candidate? Mentors can also help you locate (and land) internships. Many big-city PR firms almost exclusively bring potential employees in as interns first before committing to a full-time employment situation.

Find your passion. Years ago during one of the first seasons of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” Trump gave this sage advice (paraphrased): “To experience great success, you have to be passionate about what you are doing.” Trump’s advice was absolutely spot-on. You can be smart and successful. But when you add a personal passion to natural talent, watch out. People listen to smart, passionate people who believe in their product or cause. If you struggle to understand technology, don’t take a job in tech PR. If you are a local food devotee, you would be wise to look for PR jobs in the local food movement.

Become a student of the news. Read and watch as much news as you can (and yes, that includes social media). You will begin to understand what is “news,” and by watching industry news, you’ll begin to recognize pitfalls to avoid. I also always recommend spending time in a newsroom. Sit in on planning meetings, watch live newscasts, and shadow an editor or producer. You will be fascinated by the process.

Public relations is not for everyone, but following these steps will help you determine if it’s the next great career move for you.

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duwe@duwepr.com

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