Many in public relations demonstrate abilities right out of the gate through their media relations, social media, research, writing and other necessary skills.
This early success often leads to rapid career growth. However, it’s not uncommon to hit a wall.
Here are four tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the next big career step:
1. Think strategically instead of tactically.
As a junior PR team member, the majority of your day-to-day responsibilities are comprised of tactical work—document drafting, pitching, research, etc. As you work towards senior-level positions, you must be able to transfer the knowledge you’ve gained and put it to use from a project strategy perspective.
It’s important that you seek out opportunities to be involved with strategic planning and development in your current role. This can take many forms, including drafting strategy for an upcoming campaign, identifying new opportunities for coverage, introducing new best practices and more.
The next step in your career will require you to own the success of projects, including staff management, budgeting and strategic counsel. By placing yourself in the shoes of project managers, you can begin honing the skills necessary for success at the next level.
2. Learn to manage others.
It’s essential that you understand how to coach, mentor, manage and lead others to take the next step in your career. That’s why it’s crucial to master the art of managing so that you understand how to efficiently work with your current supervisors and demonstrate that you possess management abilities.
One great way to flex your management muscles is by volunteering to serve as a mentor for junior colleagues. Whether your organization has an established mentorship program or not, mentoring another colleague allows you to exchange knowledge and provide value to the mentee, yourself and your whole team.
Managing others is a skillset that comes naturally to some and can be a challenge for others. One way to fine-tune your management style is by seeking out trainings and courses to help get you to the next level and make the transition smoother.
3. Master your writing style.
Despite the rapid evolution of the PR discipline, one thing has remained the same. Solid writing skills are needed throughout your career. Because the lines between paid and earned media are becoming more blurred, PR pros who can write well are in high demand.
You possess an excellent strategic mindset and have a solid understanding of the media landscape, but a failure to continually refine your writing ability can hold you back.
Improving your writing can take many forms:
- Take a writing workshop. Seek out workshops or seminars in your area focused on writing and storytelling. If your organization is large enough, it might be worth initiating an internal writing series to help all team members enhance their abilities.
- Write more often. Look for projects where you can take on writing responsibilities and receive feedback from senior team members. Outside of work, look into the possibility of starting a blog or contributing content. Every chance you have to write is an opportunity to increase your skills.
- Read similar content. Depending on your industry, the appropriate writing style will vary. By reading content published in your respective industry, you can better understand the style, tone and format that works best.
4. Pursue new experiences.
As you work towards continued career growth in PR, it’s best to get into the habit of trying new things and taking on new responsibilities outside of your comfort zone.
You could start a new internal initiative at your organization or take time to learn more about what your colleagues are doing in other departments. If you work in an agency, there is ample opportunity to take on a client in a new industry or work on an account that provides different services outside of traditional media relations, like social media or content development.
If you’re a young PR pro and have made it a priority to continue growing, then it’s time to take a proactive approach to your career. Taking an active role in developing career will take will ensure that you can pursue the career path you have always wanted.
Tommy Morgan is a public relations senior account executive at Sage Communications .
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