I would say that I have always been quite a curious person. I’ve always wanted to find out more about the people and things around me. But more recently, I’ve found that my interest in the news, in the industry and in the motivations behind people’s actions is essential when beginning a career in PR.
Since I began working full time on my placement year, I have found staying curious more challenging than when I was a full time student. I think it’s important to keep looking outwards, finding more opportunities and blogging through the year.
Here are my tips for keeping up to date with the industry.
1. Download news apps (or just read the news!)
It’s hard to be able to pitch to journalists if you genuinely don’t know what stories are making the news. Downloading news apps is a quick and easy way to scroll through the days headlines. You even get a notification when a big story breaks. Even just spending the time it takes you to commute to work keeping yourself up to date on the latest headlines makes you a more well rounded individual generally, as well as putting you at an advantage if you’re ever applying for future jobs.
2. Read books
This might be considered slightly more strenuous than downloading a news app, and I am currently working to practice what I preach, but I think books are such a vital way to learn. Whether they’re professional, industry related books or you’re simply reading a short fiction tale, by dedicating just a small part of your day to reading you’ll see endless benefits: better grammar, a wider vocabulary, and a broader knowledge base to name a few.
3. Follow industry professionals on social media
We’re all guilty of having a quick scroll down Twitter in our spare moments, and I think that Twitter particularly is a perfect way to absorb key industry news and influencers. Like #1, this is a relatively pain-free and simple way to keep up to date with the industry. Often, professionals will link to articles they have seen, which will be followed by a thread of healthy debates. I personally find that, even if I haven’t reached out personally to these professionals, simply by following them from afar I am able to learn a lot.
4. Blog, blog, blog
Like I say, I’m currently in the process of trying to blog more, but I’m very aware that blogging is such a great tool for sharing opinions and opening debate. It’s really important to do this, and I’ve found that through my blog last year I made connections with many other PR students and professionals. I think we’re lucky to work in an industry that is so fuelled by passion, and I don’t think we should take that for granted. Write about your opinions, share your views, post your pictures. It makes you think.
5. Don’t become complacent
Finally, I think that being aware of opportunities that are coming your way is really important. For me, being on placement has been a brilliant opportunity but I am also acutely aware that it isn’t going to last forever. As students, we must show that we are interested, engaged and actively trying to find our feet in the world of PR. That’s what will get us jobs in the future and set us apart from our competitors.
Have you experienced the shift from student-life to work life? How did you find it?
Let me know or follow me on Twitter.