No matter which soon-to-be graduate or mid-life job shifter sits across from me, I always have the same advice: start at an agency. That may sound odd from someone who thoroughly enjoys in-house communications roles, but by working at agencies—as well drafting requests for proposals for, retaining, even firing agencies—I learned how to be a better communicator. It all started with practicing the basics. Let me explain why.
Write, write, and write some more
If you are considering public relations as a career, you had better enjoy writing. Sure, you’ll be recording and cutting video, or clicking away on your digital camera at times, but writing remains the backbone of public relations.
At an agency, you’ll be assigned to multiple clients with various drafting needs, including releases, social media posts, op-eds, white papers, and so forth. Writing multiple releases and drafting a few blog posts every day, may give you carpal tunnel syndrome, but it’s worth it.
Cranking out copy and having it marked up so that only three words remain is how you become a better writer. Soon you will learn how to put your voice in the background and write in specific tones for your clients, your bosses, and eventually, the media.