I was delighted to be asked to speak at an event last night, held by VMA Direct, part of the well-respected PR recruitment company, VMA Group. It was the first such event they had held and was aimed at junior PR professionals in their first or second roles.I was one of three senior PR professionals asked to talk about our careers. A ‘how I got to where I am today’ type of thing. The aim of the evening was to provide insight from those who have been there and got the T-Shirt to help the PR professionals of the future navigate their own career paths.
We were specifically asked to talk about the different roles we have had, how we overcame any challenges / obstacles, and also impart any tips. You can see my presentation on Slideshare – or scroll to the end of this post and click the play button.
The Q and A session that wrapped up the evening saw Helen and I asked a wide range of questions, from “How long should I stay in each job for?” to “Am I at a disadvantage to not have a degree?”, and “Should I stick to just B2B?” to “I only have agency experience, from an in-house employer perspective, is this a problem?”
summary of the advice I and the other speakers gave is:
- Make sure you earn your agency stripes.
- It can be good to take a sideways move to refresh your skills. Keep learning.
- Take on transferable skills. Find cultures you thrive in and gain confidence.
- If you are confident in your PR skills you can pick up the industry when moving into a new role.
- It’s all about what fits you and your career. Do what makes you happy and take action if you are not. Be authentic.
- Be professional and commit to a code of conduct – look at CIPR membership.
- Be able to articulate why you have changed jobs. Explain your journey and development along your career path.
- Keep a record of what you have done, build a portfolio and demonstrate the impact you have had.
- PR is becoming more integrated – be knowledgeable of more than one area. Learn as much as you can along the way.
- Don’t have preconceptions about companies – have an open mind.
- Listen to your gut. Be yourself and know your values.
- Stretch your comfort zone. Don’t get bored and stagnate.
If you have any tips or pearls of wisdom for junior PRs developing their career, please add them below. What works for one person’s career may not work for another, but there are many commonalities in PR careers, as the three speakers found out.