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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.