Find out how to succeed in the competitive world of public relations and how to make the most of your public relations degree.
You may have wondered if a public relations degree can put you in a better position when applying for a job compared to someone with a different degree or even those with no degree at all. Some believe that having a PR degree provides new entrants a solid foundation that lets them settle into their new roles with the pace and ease that the PR industry demands. With the fierce competitive climate that PR operates, there is often no easy role.
Public relations candidates are expected to hit the ground running when doing their job. Many believe that having a PR degree gives candidates with the strong foundations that are usually lacking in other non-PR degrees. Public relations focuses on many things that no degree can hone you for – it is about personality, persuasion and having the right mindset.
There are plenty of successful people in the PR world who don’t have public relations degrees and have attained their standing through practical experience and intuition. As expected, these people are often those who first challenged the worth of PR degrees. Some employers prefer to hire those who have a first degree in other fields and even though few would argue the value of hiring a non-PR degree holder for a public affairs role, it appears quite illogical to disqualify PR graduates altogether.
Having a PR degree simply proves that you are passionate about the job. While this topic often affects the PR community, PR graduates are sometimes criticized for their poor presentation and writing skills. There seems to be a difference between the skills that employers look for in PR graduates and the skills they display – one should work hard to unite the two.
The main issue is that the PR community seems to spend too much time arguing on this problem and less time trying to formulate a solution. Universities should make better degree courses to generate graduates that are more employable. Furthermore, universities should stress the importance of good writing skills and job experience in gaining employment.
Nowadays, many PR students graduate with unrealistic expectations on the bankability of their degree. They are seen as overconfident because they thought their PR degree ensures them success. But the truth is, no PR degree can amply prepare you in the real PR world.
It is indeed a steep learning curve; hence, a graduate should have a flexible mind to think outside the box. PR is not entirely academic. Its academic aspect doesn’t really come out until you are in your next job where the strategic part of PR that was taught to you during your degree should be implemented.
That said, one should realize that not all PR degrees are equal. Some universities offer excellent degrees in public relations with faculty members having first-hand industry experience. Moreover, the value of an accredited public relations degrees lies not just in the skills you learned when you graduate.
The PR world is very competitive now and the graduates should realize that they should possess the right characteristics. It is not similar to being a doctor or a nurse. You do not immediately obtain a license to practice because you have completed the degree and passed the exams.
Is public relations degree worth it? PR candidates today should recognize that simply having a PR degree won’t secure them a position… but combine it with some determination, drive, enthusiasm to learn and a bit of humility and they are 90% there. The remaining 10% isn’t about qualification but being the right candidate for the team and the organizational culture.