Get a job in a PR agency: The path to working in public relations
A job in the PR industry means fast-paced and flexible work-life balance. But if you want to work in a PR agency in Copenhagen, for example, you should also be a Copenhagen resident.
If you have no practical experience with PR, read books about it! Preferably about journalism, as you’ll be talking to journalists a lot. Photo: Ben White, Unsplash.
Do you dream of working as a PR consultant in a PR agency? It can be an exciting and challenging career path for those who want to work in communications, media and stakeholder management. It’s also one of the fastest ways to gain lots of experience, as you’ll typically work with multiple customers from different industries. But the pace can also be fast and the demands are often high.
And because the pressure can be high in the PR industry, there is often a focus on work-life balance, and PR consultants in most agencies are allowed to work from home if the child needs to go to the doctor or whatever else gets in the way. This has been the case even before the corona crisis. However, it’s extremely rare for consultants to work 100% from home, so if you want to work in a PR agency in Copenhagen, for example, it’s best to be based in Copenhagen.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some important steps on the path to working in a PR agency and thriving in the industry. Whether you’re in training, a recent graduate or an experienced professional looking to make a career change, these tips and strategies are relevant to you.
Fun fact: There are many PR agencies based in Copenhagen, where easy access to meetings with authorities, politicians and organizations has traditionally been a high priority.
Build a strong foundational knowledge of PR
Before diving into applying for a job at a PR agency, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what PR entails. Read books, take online courses or attend workshops to learn basic PR theories and practices. The more you know about the PR industry, its trends and challenges, the better prepared you will be to impress during job interviews.
PR agencies are different – find the one that suits you
PR agencies can specialize in everything from classic product PR to political advocacy and in a wide range of industries, where knowledge can be an advantage. Our PR agency in Copenhagen specializes in B2B impact technology as well as IT and scaleups, so being a tech enthusiast with a business mindset can be an advantage.
Gain practical experience through internships
Hands-on experience is essential in the PR world. Apply for internships at PR agencies to build your experience and understanding of the industry. While it may be unpaid or paid less, internships are a great way to learn about the reality of the work and gain insight into the day-to-day operations of the agency. It can also lead to full-time employment if you impress with your effort and commitment. Show enthusiasm for being part of the team and take a humble approach to the tasks, take pride in the “bread and butter tasks” such as media monitoring, and don’t expect to be strategizing for large corporations right away. But every once in a while, ask if you can take on a more challenging task. It gives you bonus points.
Develop your communication skills
Communication is at the heart of the PR industry, so strong communication skills are essential. Work on improving your written, but also your oral communication skills – including the ability to write clear and compelling press releases, present ideas effectively and build good relationships with customers and the media.
Other essential skills that earn points are:
- Customer service: PR is all about making customers happy so they stay customers. You can be the best story writer in the world, but if you’re pissing off customers, don’t expect a career as a PR consultant.
- Sales: Since a large part of the job is selling story ideas to journalists, it’s an advantage if you have, for example, telephone sales on your CV.
- General IT skills: They are essential. Without a solid foundation in IT skills, you’re seen as a bit of a dinosaur. Social media, Word, Google Docs, PowerPoint, Zoom, MS Teams, intranet time tracking, etc. are a must.
- WordPress and SEO: If you can edit the content of a website and tweak it for keyword optimization, the agency feels confident that you’ll always have something to do – even if it’s at a standstill around Christmas or the summer months, when there can often be a little respite.
- Political communication: PR is closely related to public affairs, and sometimes assignments arise where clients need to engage with authorities, so any political experience, such as stakeholder mobilization or political campaigning, is a big plus.
Stay up to date with the latest PR trends and technologies
The PR industry is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the field. Follow relevant blogs, read PR publications and be aware of how social media, artificial intelligence and digital platforms affect PR practices. Show interest in and knowledge of the latest tools and methods as this can differentiate you in the job application process. ChatGPT and similar AI services are on the rise, so mastering such tools will be a definite advantage.
Build your professional network
As in other industries, your professional network can be an asset if you’re looking for a job as a PR consultant. For example, use social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with PR agency professionals and attend relevant professional and networking events. Be active in online discussions and participate in PR-related forums. The larger your network, the more likely you are to hear about job opportunities and get recommendations.
Working in a Copenhagen PR agency like ours, as well as others, requires a combination of education, experience and the right skills. By building a strong foundational knowledge of PR, building a professional network, gaining practical experience, developing your communication skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, you can increase your chances of landing an exciting position in a PR agency. Always remember to be persistent, committed and enthusiastic during your job search journey. Good luck to you!