College: an experience like no other! The end of summer is nigh, which means students are heading back to their dorms to prepare for the next four months of studying (partying) and classwork.
Although a college degree in public relations will provide you with many PR skills that you will be able to use in your career, like writing press releases or pitches, there are just some things that your public relations 101 or even advanced public relations classes won’t be able to teach you. Theory is one thing—but going out in the real world is another!
5 PR Skills You Won’t Learn in Class:
How to make contacts. Sure, you have Facebook and a bunch of LinkedIn connections with former classmates, professors, and even some of the people you worked with in an internship, but media contacts are precious items that you’ll gather as you build your career as a publicist.
How to network. Your professors may force you to go to a networking event or two, but you’ll learn how to talk to people once you start going out to conferences and meeting reporters or bloggers over coffee.
How to talk on the phone. As a publicity assistant you’re going to be making a lot of phone calls that may come with some “ums,” “ahhs,” and awkward silences. Pitching over the phone is something to be learned dialing phone numbers, not from a communications book.
How to implement a plan. I’ve taken a class or two on content marketing, but the only real way to understand what it is, how to implement it, and how to fine tune the plan is to start it—otherwise you’ll never know what the results will be.
How to make clients happy. For the next several years, you’re going to cooperate with different clients who have different personalities, and expect different results. As you continue to make relationships with your clients you’ll get a better understanding of who they are and what they want.
Public relations is harder than it looks—that’s what publicists and communications experts are for. When you get a job in public relations, you’ll learn to excel at these PR skills and be on your way to becoming an experienced publicist!
Tweet at @mckinneypr with your college stories—or “eye opening” moments in your career!