Some people might argue that fields such as medicine, engineering and the law require technical education and training, while disciplines such as PR and marketing are mere fluff fields that don’t need much formal tuition, let alone higher education. However, in recent years, PR has become a subject that has attracted greater academic interest, with universities, colleges and training centres offering specific degrees and certificates in PR as a topic in its own right.
PR is a good example of a field where it is not necessary to have formally studied the subject prior to working within it, as many of the skill sets required are mostly transferable or shared with other fields, such as communication, client-servicing, presentation and languages. However, as a PR practitioner, it is always useful to go back to school and receive some form of further education that can enhance your professional abilities and make you more effective in your work. Such training might be an undergraduate degree, a diploma, a certificate, or an industry course that provides relevant hands-on training.
Formal Education vs. Work Experience
PR professionals currently working in the industry should be aware of the importance of constantly updating their knowledge of happenings within the industry. Work experience alone won’t cut it in such a competitive and fast-paced environment. It takes strategic and analytical thinking, effective leadership and enhanced communication skills, as well as accuracy and attention to detail to make it in PR.
Networking with fellow PR professionals is one such highly effective educational tool that is an insightful way to share experiences, learnings and ideas.
It is equally important for the industry to educate young, new talent. PR agencies should encourage students and fresh graduates to consider joining the sector by ensuring a presence at careers fairs and college open days. Here, seasoned PR professionals could introduce the concept of Public Relations to eager young minds, explain the dynamics of the industry, highlight its key elements and show how it differs from marketing or advertising. Most importantly, they could showcase the benefits and rewards of a career in PR.
The new generation is highly connected to social media and technology. With PR slowly but surely moving towards being an on-line and digital domain, it is becoming increasingly important to attract youth to the industry and to integrate them in its workings early on.