A guide for a PR informational interview
At some point during their education, most public relations students receive the assignment to interview PR professionals about the industry, the job and to offer advice to someone considering a career in the profession. Trying to find a PR practitioner who is willing to speak to you can be frustrating. We know that PR pros are busy; and we also understand how important it is to help students prepare for their future in PR. Therefore, we created a list of the top six questions we get from PR students in informational interviews.
- What is a typical day like for you?
As PR professionals, every day is different. It’s not a boring profession by any means. There may be certain outputs you must complete. Those outputs vary by client, though, and could change after each client quarterly meeting.
- What professional or trade associations do you recommend?
Find a local chapter of the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA) to join, or attend monthly events as a nonmember. Many states also have their own associations for PR professionals to join.
- What do you read to stay informed?
- PRSA offers a number of ways to stay informed, including webinars.
- O’Dwyers is an industry publication and website worth the read, as is Ragan’s PR Daily.
- Another helpful resource is the book “Public Relations Account Executive Client Service Masterclass.” It’s a short read and one you’ll reference throughout the course of your career.
- Follow PR professionals on Twitter; you can learn a lot of them.
- Do you recommend an internship?
Yes, we recommend doing an internship in the industry. You’ll leave the internship with more knowledge and experience than many of your peers.
- What’s the best advice you can give PR students?
Follow up. We’ve seen so many entry-level PR professionals who don’t follow up with reporters, their clients and sometimes even their coworkers. Follow-up is so necessary in this industry. You can’t simply reach out once and expect to get results.
- What challenges do you encounter?
Each client is different. You must remember that clients have individual needs and desires. There’s no cookie-cutter approach that works for everyone. Other challenges include not having a reporter or a client get back to you, which is why follow-up is so important.
If you would like to connect with a PR professional, we recommend giving yourself plenty of time before your assignment deadline. Don’t call an agency and expect to talk with a PR professional that day. Ask to set an appointment to interview the agent. And don’t forget to do your homework on the professional before you meet. If you’re in school and in need of financial aid, consider applying for Axia Public Relations’ PR scholarship for students who are passionate about a career in PR.
Clients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.
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