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8 Traits of a PR Pro

03.09.12

Public relations is a fast-paced industry that is not for the faint of heart. When talking with college students and those interested in PR, I’m often asked what it takes to make it in this industry. After some head scratching, I’ve dwindled down a long list to eight traits.

Are you thinking about a career in PR? Check out the list below to see if you fit the bill.

Writing skills—Ask any PR professional what qualities are needed to have a successful career in PR and their first reply will be writing—hands down! Writing, writing, writing. As communication professionals, we must have good writing skills and be proficient in AP style. The work and materials we produce are often read by the general public, media, upper management, elected officials and so on. A typo in a news release is no joke.

Attention to detail—At any given time, we will work on multiple big projects for several clients. Did you edit all of your materials several times? Did you forget any materials? Did you invite everyone who needed to be invited? The work we do is intricate, and attention to detail is a trait that saves time and headaches.

Flexible—Many times we joke that we have a to-do list and a to-do list for our to-do list. You never know what fires will pop up during the day that you weren’t anticipating. Being flexible is an important quality to get the job done and to help keep your sanity.

Multitask—In order to be in PR, you need to be able to multitask. We’re not just talking about being able to check tweets while reading an email and sipping your coffee. PR professionals are on tight deadlines and have to be able to juggle multiple projects.

Critical thinker—Being a critical thinker is an important quality for a PR pro. We often handle complex issues that need to be explained in a simple, efficient manner. Also, in times of a crisis, PR professionals need to be able to think critically to ensure that all the bases are covered. It is our responsibility to ensure our clients are fully prepared to handle any communication obstacles and opportunities that may arise.

Confident—As a PR professional, you must be able to handle rejection. You may not land that account you had your heart set on or get your story in a specific publication, but you must be confident that it will work out the next time. Develop a tough skin and keep going.

Ethical—Having personal ethics is increasingly important in today’s society. We do not lie for our clients, and we are straight shooters. As we relate to multiple publics, it is important to uphold principles of ethics.

• Interpersonal skills—PR is all about building relationships. As a PR professional, you must be able to build rapport with clients, media and community and business leaders.

- Erika González

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