Friday, November 27, 2009

Basic Training - Preparing for the Road to a Public Relations Career

I love it when I receive questions from young inquiring minds. And normally it is folks just getting started in the public relations field. Never did I expect to see a question from an energetic person in high school who is anxious for success in our industry.

The inquiry from the high schooler went something like this. I am in high school want to pursue a career as a celebrity publicist. But I always wondered how would i get to such a big step like this. So what steps should I take to become BIG, starting at high school and through my college life?

Every one has the opportunity to create their own road to success as a public relations professional. My take is that your need to get a good dose of the fundamentals and then some added ingredients. Here are several ideas of actions that those very early in their training can take now to prep for a career in public relations and in particular "celebrity PR."

1. Learn to write well. This means being able to string together ideas in simple declarative sentences, including knowing and using proper grammar and spelling.

2. Read as much as you can in terms of literature, both fiction and non fiction. A person who is well grounded in the arts and intellect can go far in the public relations field. To be well spoken and written requires being well read.

3. Start building your "social and professional" network now. As you meet people and make friends add them to your network using today's social media tools such as Linkedin, Facebook, Plaxo, Ning, etc. And part of good networking is to also help people. (See next.)

4. Volunteer. Volunteer in your community, at the community theater, in school, at your place of worship, or simply help family and friends. Develop a charitable outlook on life. The old adage "It is better to give than receive" works. And you can't expect people to do things for you unless you do things for others.

5. Consider writing a blog about what is your passion. If you like to write (and good writing is a building block of success in PR,) write about things that hold great or intense interest for you. If you are an expert on something, write about it. And learn more about it.

6. Be active and engaged in school. Join the theater club, write for the school paper, be engaged in student government and even tutor your classmates.

7. Study the field. Go to your local library and even the web sites of organizations that focus on the the public relations and communications fields - like PRSA, IABC, NIRI, WIC, Arthur Page Society, and Social Media Club, etc. Look up books and white papers about the field. Start reading about the industry.

8. Learn the tools.  Besides being a great writer, insure that you know what are the tools and how to acquire and use them to sustain a competitive edge.  You will learn many tools when you embark on your college pursuits.  But there are others like social media tools and platforms that help you optimize the reach to the people with whom you want to build a relationship.

These are but the tip of the iceberg of things you can do now to pave a solid road for yourself in your journey to a successful career in the public relations field.

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