The future of PR: Do you have the right PR skills to succeed?

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Job outlook for public relations sees growth because of online relations

Lee WeisbeckeBusiness Hackr of The Triangle Business Journal published an article last week titled “Study: Few PR managers, lawyers unemployed.”  The study, conducted by Robert Half International, and compiled through statistics from federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that while the national unemployment rate was 9.5% in June, the unemployment rate for public relations managers in the same time period was 0.1%!

That’s pretty great news for all of us in public relations. So, why is our industry experiencing one one hundredth of the unemployment of the rest of the country? Here’s a portion of what employment/career site Wet Feet says under “Job Outlook” in their analysis of the PR industry:

“With the explosion in online media over the past few years, PR is more important than ever, and companies are hiring more agencies and PR staffers to manage Internet relationships. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that although employment is projected to grow faster than average, keen competition is expected for entry-level jobs. Still, this remains an attractive industry to many job seekers…”

If there is projected faster-than-average growth in our industry, why is there also keen competition expected? And, more importantly, what can you do to put yourself ahead of the pack?

The growth of online and social media is the reason for the growth of our industry; however, traditional public relations outreach is still the meat and potatoes of our business. The key to succeeding in PR over the next five years will be the ability to navigate both of these worlds: the traditional print and broadcast media outreach and the social media and online community engagement.

A PR pro with the knowledge, skills and drive to understand and succeed in both of these unique tasks is fast becoming a valuable commodity.

So, if you’re an experienced Senior Account Executive with an ‘in’ at the New York Times and the ability to work with top media outlets but not a lot of knowledge on how to use social media, take some time to find out more. Some great ways to get started are reading through the blogs on our blog roll to your right, attending a Social Media Club event in your city or registering for one of Cision’s social media webinars. (We’ll be offering more intro webinars in addition to some on more advanced social media topics this fall.)

On the flip side, if you are The Next Great Guru of Social Media and can blog and tweet with the rest of them, but just can’t seem to get through to that BusinessWeek reporter, consider adding traditional media outreach to your set of skills. Find a mentor who is willing to give you an informational interview on what they do day in and day out or check out the educational offerings of organizations like PRSA or IABC.

Being able to communicate and succeed across different media will increase your social capital and may just be the reason you’re selected for your next job.

In your opinion, are there any other reasons why the PR industry isn’t experiencing the unemployment of other industries?

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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