Matter Chatter

What advice do you have for new PR pros?

US News just announced “The 50 Best Careers of 2011.” Guess who made the list?

Yup, it’s true. PR pros are right up there with urban planners, meteorologists, athletic trainers, veterinarians, financial advisors, gaming managers and curators. In fact, US News writer Meg Handley’s PR specialist-specific report said the “employment of public-relations specialists is expected to increase by more than 66,000 jobs, or 24 percent, between 2008 and 2018, according to the Labor Department.”

This report comes at an interesting time, as I was just chatting with one of our junior team members who has been with Matter for about three months, and we were discussing how challenging this industry can be. This is her first “real” gig out of college, and she’s been immersed in some serious on-the-job training since day one. Not only has she had to learn the intricacies of our firm – and some extremely technical clients that we represent – but she’s also trying to grasp the PR industry and all the social media that now comes with it. She’s doing an excellent job – and I was commending her for her perseverance.

I started to see the PR industry through her eyes – and I found myself doling out any advice I could think of. Today, my biggest piece of advice to this particular PR newcomer was “Ask questions.” “Ask why we’re doing this, what purpose it serves, how you can do it more efficiently and if you are on the right track.”

As part of Handley’s report on PR pros, Gary McCormick, 2010 chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, offered his advice: “… It comes down to networking … It’s really the cornerstone for what we do for clients and companies all the time.”

What’s your advice to all the new PR pros who will be coming on the scene in the next eight years?