Teacher’s Pet: Advice for PR students, recent grads and enthusiasts

September has arrived and with it, brought a whole new crop of students pursuing a career in PR. To give you an edge, we’ve decided to share some of the top tips that we’ve learned from our time in the biz.


You know that a publicist needs stellar writing skills and an interest in media but do you really know what it’s like to work in a busy PR office? If not, it’s ok. You won’t have an accurate picture of the PR world until you’re actually in it. However, the ladies on the fourth floor are some of the best people to give you a realistic introduction to a world that can be crazy and busy, yet fun and fulfilling.

Image source.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Questions are not just a great way to learn – getting answers guarantees that you and your team are on the same page. Take advantage of their collective experience and ask as many questions as possible. You may feel like you’re being annoying but it’s better to ask and avoid a possible catastrophe. 

Excel, Paint/Photoshop and Outlook
If you have ever fibbed on a resume and said you’re a pro at using these programs, you are in for a rude awakening when you start working in the PR biz. A seasoned publicist knows these programs inside-out so start downloading those tutorials.

Twitter
To quote Barry Waite, coordinator of the corporate communications and PR program at Centennial College, “If you don’t have Twitter, you won’t find a job in PR.” ‘Nuff said. Social media has become an essential tool for PR, and Twitter is at the top of the game right now. Luckily, it’s fun and you will quickly understand that it’s an important information source and not just people posting updates about what they ate for breakfast. 


If you’re just starting out, read our Twitter tutorial here.

Start media monitoring
Chose a company you admire and read the dailies every day to find coverage of the company. Media monitoring is something you will do a lot when you’re starting out, so learn how to set up Google alerts and practice your scanning skills. Also, it’s the best way to get to know a writer, a TV show or radio program which is one of the most important aspects of working in PR.

We have just scratched the surface and have tons more advice to give so send us your questions @rockitpromo (or comment below) and we’ll give you the low down. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Teacher’s Pet: Interning

Megan Kaczor is a Centennial College Corporate Communications and Public Relations graduate student preparing to start interning. 


Her question: Could you tell me more about the kind of work students will do during their internship at an agency? Will there be many opportunities for hands-on work, such as writing and planning, or will we be sticking to the basics at first?

Our answer: You can no longer be Saved by the Bell. It’s time to get out of the classroom and head to the office. You are set to report for intern duty Monday morning, but you aren’t too sure what to expect. Take a seat fellow intern, and keep reading.  An internship at a PR agency involves the basics, and then some. 

From time to time, you may be asked to make a coffee run before a big meeting or run an errand, but you may also be asked to write drafts of press releases, research and update media lists, monitor client media coverage, write blog posts or tweets, assist with press days and much more.

As an intern working events, you will gain experience working the door, organizing media check-ins and making valuable industry connections.

Meeting with clients is an important part of a publicist’s job. In such meetings, proposals, events, PR initiatives and results are discussed. Interns invited to sit on meetings should listen closely, and take note of client-relationship etiquette. If you aren’t invited, be sure to ask if you can sit in on meetings. PR is fast and the folks around you need to know what you’re interested in doing.

While the overall intern experience may be a ton of work, interns often benefit from a few cool perks. Here On The Fourth Floor, our interns have gone on photo shoots, modeled for television appearances, attended fashion and entertainment industry events, receive free tickets to films and concerts, and much more. 

Enjoy your internship and remember that every position, from intern to big boss, is important. Do your job with pride and remember that everybody above you has been there at one time, too.