What’s the perfect PR job description?
14th May 2014
We've attempted to define the vital themes of what makes a career in PR rewarding.
Dealing with a wide range of people
Amy Waddell, PR manager at charity Action for Hearing Loss, says that she loves meeting so many different types of people: “PR is a real leveler and I think I sometimes take for granted the range of people I get to work with across the organisation. Who else starts their day with executive directors sat at their desk, wanting to know if their comment has made The Times, or gets to advise medical experts on their wardrobe choices (‘Will this shirt strobe when I’m on the TV?’).
Waddell also enjoys the constant challenges. She explains, “for me, PR is about the every-day challenge: of finding that one newsworthy stat in a 70-page report; coming up with a fresh, creative angle on an already-done story; and having the tenacity to pick up the phone for the umpteenth time and still muster the energy to make your pitch sound interesting, punchy and must-have.”
Opportunities to travel
Discussing her favourite type of role, Waddell says this involved travelling: “Perhaps my best PR role was working in international development. At a week’s notice I could be in Thailand, Sierra Leone or Pakistan. They’re not on everyone’s holiday destination list, admittedly, but it was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime-experience.”
Time to focus
Claire Candler, managing director at PR agency Hill and Knowlton Strategies says that as she has just returned from maternity leave, she appreciates some time to concentrate: “Writing this in my second week back after maternity leave, quite frankly I’m happy that the job enables me to enjoy a hot cuppa without interruption.”
Candler is also grateful to have a role that stretches her: “I’m fortunate to return to a role that accommodates flexible working and new personal goals, plays to my strengths and as such, gives me a jolt of fresh motivation. This wouldn’t be possible without a culture that values its people and is willing to flex to accommodate an individuals’ passions, talents and curiosity.”
Excellent training and support
“It’s also important to have a generous mentor who will champion you and help you spot, create or navigate new opportunities. There should be good coaching and formal training to get you to where you want to be. And you cannot put a price on being surrounded by good, hungry people who fizz with energy and ideas.”
The opportunity to shine
Fundamentally, says Candler, the ideal PR job needs to make you feel proud: “Don’t plod. Be fearful of mediocrity. St. Augustine defined pride as ‘the love of one's own excellence’, so if you’re not getting the chance to be excellent and you don’t feel a sense of chest-beating swagger about where you work, what you’re doing and the people you do it with, you’re in the wrong place.”
A sector that you love
For Emma Wright, account director at sport and entertainment consultancy Clifford French, the most vital ingredient in a PR career, is working in a sector that excites you. Wright explains: “The nature of our jobs is that we spend all day talking about the sector our clients work in – whether to media, colleagues, or clients. I’m passionate about sports so for me to work at Clifford French on brands like Puma and EA Sports is a dream come true.”
Variety and creative projects
Suzanne Noble, founder of the events discovery app Frugl (and former PR director for over 20 years) says that for her, the best PR job must have variety and a client or employer (for in-house) who is open to creative ideas: “I have had jobs that required me to churn out endless press releases and it was soul destroying. When I ran an agency I gave my staff a lot of freedom to be creative and they produced some great work as a result. Also, I believe that no matter how junior, it's important to involve all members of the team in brainstorming and devising the PR strategy. Let’s face it, a good idea can come from anywhere.”
Why I love my job
The chance to build relationships
James Crossland, press officer for cruise travel agent, says that it’s the social aspect of his role that makes his job special: “I’ve always felt a good PR job should have as much face-to-face contact as possible. Too often these days PR roles involve nothing more than sitting behind a laptop, writing press releases and replying to emails. All that’s important, obviously, but PR by its very nature should always be social so a good role should always have you out and about meeting people and building relationships – An expense account for all those long business lunches doesn’t hurt either!”
Finding new ways to communicate
Aaron Huckett, senior digital account manager at PR agency Publicasity says that the best part of his role is being at the forefront of the key social networks on a daily basis, always discovering new ways to communicate and how to get our brands involved. Huckett adds: “It is an ever-evolving role and it’s essential that I am two steps ahead of how consumers are communicating and which channels they are using. Then it is my responsibility to make sure that our clients are operating in these spaces. To me, working in a digital PR role is the most-rewarding because I am communicating directly to my client’s target customers on a day-to-day basis and helping to influence the way they think and act; and I get to see the immediate results from our actions.”