November 19, 2020 | By: Rhett Rivera 

Being a public relations professional could mean a lot of different things for different people.  For one person it could mean writing for a blog and social media management, whilst for another person it might mean creating newsletters and engaging in employee relations.  There’s an assortment of different types of jobs in PR and you want to find the one ideally suited to your skills and interests.  You want to find your niche.

This is something, however, that is easier said than done.  That’s why I’ve decided to write this article on how we could get you started.

Familiarize Yourself with the Different Categories of PR

Season 1 Starz GIF by The Rook - Find & Share on GIPHY

Before you jump into your first position, it would be a smart idea to evaluate the different career paths people typically take in the PR industry.  Some of the categories that first come to mind are:

  • Media relations
  • Crisis management
  • Social media communications
  • Strategic communications
  • Public Affairs

Once you do some research about what each of these job types entails, you’ll have a better idea of which one you’d like to focus on moving forward.  In fact, if one of them really interests you, it might be a good idea to reach out to someone in your network who does just that.  Ask them about what a day in their workplace entails.  

Additionally, if you don’t already know someone who works in the industry you’re searching for, I would recommend connecting with some of our PRSSA panelists.  We have a diverse network of PR professionals who work in all sorts of industries who would love to connect to students and answer any questions they might have.

Think About Your Passions and Interests

If you want a successful, long-term career in PR, you’re going to want to enjoy whatever work it is you’re doing.  A good indicator that you’re passionate about a certain type of work is that it seems to make the hours fly by.  

Comedy Cbc GIF by Kim's Convenience - Find & Share on GIPHY

To this end, I suggest you think about your hobbies.  What is it that you love to do?  Do any of those skills translate to public relations? For example, I have a friend who used to love painting.  Then, when they got into PR, they found that their skill in art translated over to graphic design and content creation.

Additionally, you should also consider the school assignments that you have completed in the past.  Have you ever found yourself investing an exorbitant amount of time into a project even though you didn’t need to?  For example, when I was younger, whenever we would have a creative writing assignment I would go all out.  I would spend hours working on my assigned story and neglect any other assignments I had because I found that I loved to write.  For me, that same passion translates into creating press releases, email pitches, and even blog posts.  This has helped me realize that my ideal PR position would have a writing requirement.

Seek Out Hands-On Experience

Obvious, right?  To learn more about which PR niche tickles your fancy, you might want to get some hands on experience for reference.  

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Maybe Its Time To Try Something New GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The prospect of this can be intimidating.  You might be thinking to yourself that you aren’t ready nor qualified for your first professional PR position.  However, to get experience, you don’t need to commit to a full-blown internship or job search if you feel you aren’t ready.  

There are plenty of other ways to start gaining experience right now.  For example, you could join one of PRSSA’s committees or participate in Titan Public Relations, CSUF’s student-run PR firm.  There are countless resources from which you could gain experience, you just need to keep your ears perked and listen for the opportunities as they come.