One of the things I find myself most lucky in is that I found a career that I'm passionate about.
I am one of those people who figured out what he/she wanted to do pretty early in life. On top of that, I even found my PR niche: the type of public relations I want to practice and the industry that I want to work in. It’s a rare career phenomenon!
PR is a profession that has no definition (at least not one everyone can agree on), so niches are endless. Media, content development, ghostwriting, social media, employee engagement--the list is long. And it’s even longer for a list of industries.
Try experiences on for size to see how they fit. Looking at my résumé, I see that I’ve worked in quite a few industries, dabbling in the breadth of PR practices through internships, fellowships, undergrad and Master’s degree courses, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and a few full-time jobs. I also spoke to many professionals over the years to understand what they do and whether I might want to do the same. Those experiences and conversations are a safe way to build your foundational knowledge of which niche might be your own some day.
Look at job postings to see who companies are hiring. One of the easiest and most resourceful ways to look at the type of talent that’s needed is to look at available jobs. For PR, look up some of the larger agencies’ careers pages and try to identify patterns for the skills or industry expertise that they’re looking for--it’s a good indicator of what their clients are looking for. If you know which industry you want to work in, look at the careers pages of some of the companies (both public and private) for some clues.
Assess the news you read to identify your hidden interests. A large part of PR is media relations--we help tell company stories through the media. Think about the articles and posts you read (other than the Buzzfeed and Elite Daily clickbait) because they’re a good indicator of what your interests are. Are you clicking on the latest social media trends? Are you reading about how sports teams are reaching their viewers? Are you interested in how startups are improving third world countries’ access to capital?
Think about what you wouldn’t want to stop learning about. The day-to-day grind is tough to love sometimes. I’ve found one of the ways in which to maintain interest and excitement is to constantly learn new things. In order to do that, you have to find something that you want to keep learning about, and you’ll never be bored. Plus, staying relevant is a trait that’s highly valued when you work in PR.
Find a place that does work that you aspire to do...not just want to do. Once you have an idea of what your niche might be and want to spend some time doing it, try to find an employer that does aspirational work. You’ll get a higher quality experience and learn more, which will prepare you for the next step in your career.
Julia Sahin works in corporate communications for financial services at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She was the first to publish academic research about regulation, reputation, and banks. She plans on doing big things. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.
Photo: Find your niche via Shutterstock