For many young graduates, public relations represents an exciting career opportunity. It offers the chance to work in a fast-paced and vibrant industry with a selection of incredible clients from around the world.

Unfortunately, not every graduate is well-suited to a career in communications.

When it comes to sorting through the sea of college graduates entering the job market this year, PR companies have their work cut out for them. While all PR candidates should have passion, dedication, and a basic knowledge of the communication practices businesses are using today, they’ll need a little more to really stand out.

Hands-On Experience Makes a Difference

Many PR agencies look for graduates with high levels of education in areas like public relations, creative arts, advertising, and journalism, but there’s more to a PR career than the right degree. The right major can take a good candidate a long way, but many agencies prefer individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to PR by getting experience in the field through an apprenticeship or voluntary position.

Aside from a general knowledge of the communication landscape, it also helps for PR candidates to have experience pitching ideas. Good writing and presentation skills are also critical in a PR environment. These may seem like obvious requirements, but many firms struggle to find graduates who have spent time honing these skills.

Other Valuable Skills a PR Candidate Needs

Aside from the ability to communicate well in a team environment, a graduate interested in moving into PR should also be familiar with social media. Social media practices are growing increasingly important to the communications and marketing strategies of companies across industries and around the world.

PR companies also value the ability to speak confidently in public, tell stories on behalf of a brand, and think critically about projects. Technical competency is also a plus in our digital age.

In terms of attitude, PR agents need to be strategic, motivated, and client-centric, and many agencies will be looking for graduates who can demonstrate such a focused, assertive nature.

There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to being the perfect candidate for a PR job, as different agencies will look for different things. However, it is worth noting that today’s candidates need more than just the right qualifications on paper to make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

Power your recruiting success.
Tap into, the largest network of recruiters.

in Career Advice]