Nailing Your First Job in PR

Getting into a PR firm may take a few tries – you may even need to do more than one internship. If this is your first real job after finishing school, don’t be afraid to take time to find the perfect fit. Doing a few internships in different specialty areas of PR allows for the opportunity to define what is the best fit for your future goals and for your personality.

What’s Your Preference?

If you already know you love clothes and fashion, then apply mainly to fashion and luxury PR boutique firms. These may be more difficult to get into initially, but keep trying. If another opportunity comes along in the meantime, consider it carefully. Some fields may closely mirror your fashion interests – travel and hospitality, or restaurants – while the food and beverage sectors could be a good crossover, and many agencies represent a variety of clients in related areas to their specialization. However, if you’ve never once been interested in current affairs, then public affairs and political sector PR firms might not be something you’ll enjoy. If you don’t enjoy any of it, it’s going to be more difficult to excel and move up the ranks. Many people might say to take any job offered, but getting into a job without any personal satisfaction can turn into an overall dissatisfaction with life in general. Nobody wants that.

Strong Work Ethic

No matter which sector you choose in PR, be prepared for long hours. The lower down the totem pole the job, the more time and energy gets spent on things that aren’t always desirable. Do them anyway. Those willing to put in the work and hours ultimately build a level of respect from their peers and from those in charge. However, if those in charge start to use and abuse you without offering any recognition or praise, it may be time to use what you’ve learned so far to find another job with another firm.

Know Your Goals

One last point to remember: Know what the endgame is. If you want to own your own boutique firm specializing in women’s products, then get experience in a few firms and take on additional projects when possible in areas connected to your goal. Get to know the movers and shakers in the industry – within PR as well as in the consumer corporations. Volunteer at charity events like the Susan B Komen walks or women’s shelters to build your skills and network. When you know where you want to be, it makes choices much easier for everything related to those goals, even your personal life decisions.

Don’t be afraid to work hard, walk away from offers that won’t give you the skills or contacts you need, and plan for the future when you can. Then jump in and enjoy the ride, even during long days and endless weeks – remember you are living your dream.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.