When filling open positions at your PR firm or company, you want to choose individuals who not only have the necessary skills, but the willpower to live up to their potential. That said, it can be difficult to identify the best traits in a potential candidate.
It helps to have a checklist. Here are five must-have qualities of stellar PR professionals:
1. A strong writer: There’s no shortage of writing in PR. That’s why it’s extremely important for all PR professionals to be adept at writing. This is especially true when it comes to content marketing, blogging, press releases and even social media.
Like most writers, PR pros should also be able to think and act creatively, be articulate and remain positive—even during the most trying situations.
2. Extremely organized and a good multi-tasker: Organizational skills are important in PR, but they go hand-in-hand with the ability to multi-task. If a potential employee can handle both, she’ll be stellar at the job.
PR pros must be able to handle a waterfall’s worth of duties, as well as complete tasks quickly. While there may not be strict deadlines, everything still has an expiration date. PR pros must be able to handle the pressure and get everything done, even when they feel bogged down.
3. An information sponge: The only way to gain knowledge is to consume information at all times. Most would say this is important early in a PR professional’s career, but it’s just as important later on, too. There is so much to learn in the PR field that it’s impossible to know everything. PR pros should keep acting like sponges to take in as much as they can.
One of the best traits of a new hire is a willingness to gain experience by watching seasoned professionals and reading industry books and articles outside of work. New hires also need to remain open to criticism, which brings me to the next point …
4. Thick-skinned: In PR, people will shoot down your ideas, ignore you and possibly even insult you. Plus, you’ll likely take a few missteps before you find the right path. That’s why it’s important for all PR professionals—especially potential hires—to have thick skin.
This treatment doesn’t just happen out in the field; some of the best PR professionals have their pitches turned down from time to time. The point is that it’s all part of the business. If you can’t pick yourself up, you’re probably not cut out for PR.
If you don’t believe me, check out some of these high-profile PR blunders to see just what can happen in the world of PR.
5. Energetic, devoted and persistent: Success usually doesn’t happen overnight, and in the rare circumstance where it does, it likely took someone a lot of time and effort to get there. Potential PR candidates need to be energetic, and understand that the work doesn’t always end just because you’ve gone home for the day. Sometimes the job will require constant monitoring through various channels, including social media.
PR candidates must remain devoted to their work, and more important, be persistent. There will be quite a few times where clients or journalists turn you away.
Make sure you choose candidates that fit the bill.
What are some other must-have qualities for PR pros? Share in the comments below.
Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX, and blogs at MarCom Land. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a platform that helps companies and PR firms get press, receive email alerts when journalists tweet or write stories about them, and measure the success of their work.