Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a young professionals’ round table discussion at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University along with some of industry’s top professionals. The discussion focused on this year’s PR trends, how to navigate the right job post-graduation, networking, opportunities and challenges, and recruiting. Having worked both at large and mid-sized agencies in New York and abroad, I was able to offer a unique perspective on what new graduates should know about choosing their next agency role.
The discussion was full of learnings – the biggest being that the public relations industry is flooded with young talent full of curiosity, eagerness and the ability to catalyze a company’s cultural growth.
Here are some of the other key takeaways from the panel:
Storytell With Data
Storytelling is a key skill for public relations professionals and in the present day, although there’s an influx of news stories and angles, we often run into situations where there is lack of hard news for clients. In these situations, there is a greater need to back up storytelling with data to garner greater media attention. Younger professionals who bring this skill usually have an edge over others.
Be a Cultural Add and Not Just a Cultural Fit
What’s true across agencies is that we are always looking for talent who bring diversity of thought, culture, opinions and outlooks. The most additive people are those who don’t necessarily just fit in but add to an agency’s culture. Young professionals should identify agencies where they can add value by challenging the status quo and helping a firm grow.
Aligning one’s personal values with the values of a company is one of the most important things to do while seeking employment. Donna Renella, moderator of the panel, said “There’s always another job. Don’t compromise what’s important to you.” In other words, be tasteful, be bold, be you. If you’re able to do this, it will not only translate across how you interact with your co-workers, but your clients as well.
Finally, here’s a piece of advice I got at the start of my master’s program at the Newhouse School: this program is like a buffet; take whatever you want and as much as you want. Life at a public relations agency is no different. Find a firm that allows you to take initiative and grow professionally.
To all young professionals seeking for opportunities out there, be patient but persistent.
Image via Sneha Satish