Trying to make PRogress


progress, noun.

1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage

So what’s my goal, a degree and a career in Public Relations? How on earth am I going to achieve such a goal when only two years ago, PR made about just about as much sense as quadratics to me? (Which let me tell you, wasn’t a lot.)

I’m already halfway through my degree, it feels like there’s a foot on the accelerator and it won’t be long until I reach one of the fiercest, most competitive industries out there – the world of Mass Communications.

Yes, I’m not just talking about PR here. There’s an argument that as the lines between PR, Marketing, Advertising and beyond continue to blur, employers will be looking for more multi-skilled and savvy employees to fill vacancies that don’t even exist yet. How exciting.

In his new book FUTUREPROOF – which is a really interesting read if you have the time – Dan Slee suggests that there are 40 skills that comms teams of the future require. 40! This potential future isn’t too far off either, 2020 to be exact – only three years after I graduate.

40 skills

(Photo credit to my lecturer, Richard Bailey for his powerpoint lecture (Hi Richard!) and of course to Dan Slee for the content.)

So if this really is the future, just how am I going to learn these skills and move forward? My joint honors degree will surely help me learn and develop but that’s just not enough. There are countless seasoned PR professionals who don’t have a degree but have a more successful career than I can currently imagine.

And what was their key to success, to making progress?

Experience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m under no illusion that my career will be either.

In an ideal world, the employer of my dreams is reading this blog post (Nice to meet you.) and is willing to offer me a job on the spot. Yeah right. The truth is that even when I do graduate, I’m nowhere near the finished product, I’ve got to prove myself first.

Ask one hundred PR professionals to describe their profession and you’d probably get as many different answers. However, it’s almost certain that each of them would tell you one thing. PR is about relationships and conversations.

So with that in mind, I’ve done three things:

  • I’ve set up a LinkedIn page for networking. At the moment it’s been a lot of searching for the niche I want to go into, follow some groups that interest me, connect with course mates (and lecturers if they’ll allow it) but for your own sake be professional on there, Facebook it is not.
  • I’ve started blogging about PR and about my Bristol Bucket List. It’s important to create (and continue creating) content you’re interested in, then you can form a community of people with similar interests with you, follow these people, talk to them! Maybe one day one of those people could offer you a job?
  • And finally, I’m now actively seeking placements or internships. Who’s going to hire a graduate (even a good one) if they haven’t done anything, haven’t worked with anyone? Professionals before us didn’t just sit back and wait for something to happen, they went out and got on with it – and do you know what? Sometimes they got it wrong. But learning from your mistakes is all part of getting better. That’s the thing with experience, you simply can’t get enough of it.

Just remember, what you do today can only benefit tomorrow, especially if you really do want to put the PR into progress.


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