Being one of the lucky few who becomes gainfully employed following college graduation is a liberating and exciting experience. You are no longer grounded by meaningless term papers or have to drag yourself out of bed for the dreaded 8:00AM class. As a graduate of the communication department, I had a sense of relief, knowing that my PR and Marketing classes had fully prepared me for any career that was thrown my way…
…that was until I got my first “real world” job experience.
Beyond creating consistent content, it turns out that there are a few important topics that my professors failed to mention, leaving me with a lack of understanding for some of the most basic PR tasks. I have decided to share with you a few key learnings that I have picked up in the start of my PR career.
On the first day of my first internship I remember being bombarded with terms and phrases that my PR-savvy peers assumed I had a full understanding of. Without knowing these phrases I was unable to properly articulate next steps without a PR dictionary to guide me. So for the sake of knowing, here is a list of some of my favorite (and slightly over used) PR terms:
Writing a well-written email is a lost art. Most young professionals focus all of their energy on the perfect pitch and don’t understand the importance of a properly formatted email—but it does reflect ones professionalism. There is a long list of etiquette guidelines, but let’s start with the basics. Below is a check list of what I have found to be some helpful rules to keep in mind.
If you are a recent graduate with PR ambitions and you’ve never heard of CisionPoint – don’t panic! This is not a software service that is typically highlighted in any college course; however it is the single most important web-based service that every PR professional uses. In short, CisionPoint is a program that acts as a solution to building media lists and monitoring news coverage. Within the service, there is a search engine that allows you to find relevant editors, bloggers, publications, newspapers, blogs and social media outlets. These contacts can then be pulled into an excel spread sheet, allowing you to better organize your pitching efforts. While this description does not even skim the surface of CisionPoint’s capabilities, there are several webinars that are available to get a deeper understanding of the program.
After graduating college, you learn very quickly that unlike any exam or paper, there is no way to fully prepare for a job within the realm of communications. My best advice would be to educate yourself by researching relevant blogs and shadowing various agencies. This real-world experience is the best way to get a grasp on what PR is really about.