A quick guide to entering the PR career path for Gen Z!
Public relations has a long history of development in the world, however, the industry is relatively new in the Vietnam market. It was only in 2010 (after Vietnam joins World Trade Organization) that demand for advertising and communications soared in the local market.
Most people misunderstand PR as they think PR is a branch of marketing, or clump it all together with advertising. To this date, many fresh graduates are still pondering on career opportunities in the PR industry and the scope of work that PR entails.
Nowadays, the older generations of Gen Z are joining the PR workforce. To help Gen Zers gain a better understanding of career development in the PR industry, the EloQ team has compiled this blog article to answer the common myths on working in PR.
PR practitioners must be Masters of communications and Lords of public speaking?
Upon hearing the word ‘public relations’, many would think of brand spokespersons who deliver speeches in front of the press.
The first impression on PR practitioners is always glamorous, but at the same time, very stressful in the eyes of young PR practitioners. For college students, standing in front of a crowd to present their ideas is one of their biggest fright. So, do you need to be a master of interpersonal skills and communications to pursue the PR industry?
In fact, not every PR practitioners have to stand in front of the crowd. PR practitioners often handle behind-the-scene works to build the company’s image, while company managers or media spokespersons will be the ones who stand in front of the cameras on behalf of the brand. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has many personnel but has only one spokesperson.
When entering the PR industry, each person will have their own start based on their strengths and preferences. If you like content writing or editing, then you can start out as a copywriter or editor; if you prefer to work with people then you can take on account positions, partner relations, or media relations. As a result, fresh graduates don’t need to be a master in communications to set their foot in the PR industry.
However, the lack of communication skills or fear of standing in front of a crowd could become a long-run hindrance. This applies not only to the PR industry but to any other career. The reason is – when working in PR, you’ll have to join pitching sessions with clients, or simply make a short presentation to convince the internal team about your idea.
In short, you can still work in the PR industry without being excel in interpersonal skills, but for the long term development and career advancement, you’ll need to refine many soft skills to deliver outstanding work results.
In addition, teamwork, project management, stress management, and adaptability are the necessary skills to pursue the PR industry. PR practitioners are required to be flexible, can adjust to quick-changing environments, and handle unexpected situations.
How to gain experience in the PR industry?
Gen Z has many outstanding characteristics and is expected to ignite new trends in the future. But it doesn’t mean that they will earn favors during recruitment processes. An employer’s choice is not to choose between Gen Z or Millennials. Their problem is to find the right person for their companies. The ‘right factor’ comes from two aspects – experience and attitude.
- For senior positions, employers will make their decision based on the applicants’ past experience and expertise;
- for fresher/intern positions, employers will look at the applicants’ personality and soft skills (such as communication skills, willingness to learn, pressure management, teamwork, time allocation, etc.)
As for university students, you can join the communications department of the schools’ clubs, or join extracurricular projects and volunteering programs to refine soft skills and gain first-hand experience on the tasks of PR/Comm practitioners.
Another simple way, you can focus on studying. This can help university students build strong knowledge and soft skills to prepare for work. For example, students can practice project management skills, communication skills, and teamwork in school projects. In addition, looking into PR best practices and successful case studies in Vietnam and other countries is another way to gain experience and nurture creativity. Being creative does not mean that you suddenly come up with something new out of nothing, but knowledge of many things would bring in more scopes for creativity and imagination.
Regarding career opportunities, the most common start for students is to get an internship in agencies. However, without sufficient knowledge, those who apply for internships too early will either fail or assigned with simple tasks. The main reason is that college freshman or sophomore still doesn’t have the required skills and knowledge to perform executive-level jobs. So you need to take this into consideration when deciding between work and school. Instead of handling irrelevant tasks, you could spend that time studying and developing yourself.
Resume – don’t overdo it
Working in PR, you should know that a long message is not necessarily a good message. A concise and impactful message would leave a stronger impression in the eyes of the public. Similarly, a four-page long resume won’t beat a resume that can highlight your outstanding strengths.
Whether it’s Gen Z or Millennials, to make your resume stands out, you’ll need to highlight the skills that recruiting companies look for in their job description. Find ways to show recruiters that you’re fit for the job without making them think too much on their side. In example, a well-designed resume would make a strong impression for designer positions, but it is not the prerequisite in applying as a copywriter. To showcase your writing skill, you can use creative wording and refine the sentences in the resume.
When preparing a PR/marketing plan, identifying and understanding the target audience is very important. Consider each company as your important client and customize your resume according to their job requirements.
Are you a Gen Zers with questions on the PR industry? Send your concerns to EloQ Communications and we’ll answer them in our following blogs.
In addition to providing global standard services and acting as the clients’ eyes, ears and voices in Vietnam market, nurturing and growing young PR talents is one of EloQ’s commitments to leverage Vietnam’s PR industry.