Our unique PRofession

I’ve been asked to reflect on PR as a profession these last few weeks. First, a half-dozen students–four from Hofstra and two from other schools–interviewed me about my career in public relations as part of their class projects. Each one of them asked the usual “what do you like best about PR?” question, but some wanted more introspection about why I shifted from broadcasting to a field I knew little about.

I moved from radio to public relations early on because I relished the idea of a job where I could write, and use extensive communication tools. What I enjoy best about public relations, I told the student interviewers, is how PR know-how can be applied to any field. As if to prove this point, just these past few days I’ve witnessed our newest graduates land PR jobs in very diverse organizations; they’re already working in PR agencies, record companies, entertainment conglomerates, fashion houses, and nonprofits, to name a few.

Receiving PRPLI's Lifetime Acheivement Award from Bert Cunningham (l.)

Receiving PRPLI’s Lifetime Achievement Award from Bert Cunningham in early May

Also, I was recently honored by my colleagues in the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI), a regional trade organization. The group gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award as “an industry leader who has helped shape the public relations landscape on Long Island.” It meant the world to me to receive the award, and it also compelled me to reflect again on public relations as a career choice.

I told the audience at the PRPLI awards dinner that the breadth of the necessary skills makes PR challenging and exciting. “We need to be bloggers, tweeters, and podcasters; photographers, videographers, script writers and producers,” I said. “We have to be event planners, fundraisers, promoters and publicists; and highest on the skill set list: we have to be ethical and effective writers and storytellers, using well-constructed language and appropriate images. There are few professions as diverse, and interesting, and challenging as ours.”

Our unique profession can provide wonderful opportunities, unique life experiences, and great colleagues and friends. While PR isn’t a possible career for everyone, I highly recommend it. Your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Our unique PRofession

  1. Bert Cunningham

    PR is a great profession. It’s one that provides an opportunity to implement problem-solving solutions to right a wrong or to help people in need, which can give one a tremendous sense of accomplishment by doing something worthwhile with one’s time and talents. PR pros are bridge spanners who connect people within organizations to help achieve the maximum potential of those organizations. And, they connect organizations to external stakeholders for the same reason: achieving maximum outcomes. It’s a profession that not only requires strategic and tactical skills, but also a high degree of empathy and compassion. Done right, PR is one of the most important of human endeavors, because of the positive outcomes it seeks to achieve. Congrats to you Jeff for your dedication to the profession and in seeking to educate new generations of PR pros.

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  2. molliealexandra

    Pubic relations is a major that provides one with numerous different skills and allows you to wear many different hats. Personally, while I agree with what you write regarding how public relations is not the right career for everyone, I also believe that it can benefit everyone no matter what career path they choose to follow.

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  3. torisucci

    I think you hit it on the head. As PR professionals we have to know so many different skill sets to be successful at our jobs.You in a sense need to be a jack of all trades. I would also add the statement that as PR professional your job is not the same everyday which keeps everyday interesting. Personally I think with in every profession you need and should be educated in PR, because the skill set is something that everyone needs.

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