Q&A with a public relations professional

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As many companies were required to deal with crisis situations during the economic downturn over the past few years, the value of public relations professionals became even more evident.

PR is also becoming more attractive as a career choice for many students and recent grads because it’s a dynamic career path where you get to handle a variety of tasks for some pretty big clients.

I spoke with Sarah Tuite, a Vice President at Canada’s largest public relations firm, NATIONAL Public Relations, about what it is like to work at a public relations agency and how aspiring public relations professionals can begin their career.

Q. What level of education do you think would best prepare someone for a career in the field of public relations?

A. Obtaining an undergrad degree in any field complimented with a PR Certificate offering an internship would increase your odds of finding employment.

Sarah Tuite, Vice President of NATIONAL Public Relations

Q. Can you give me an example of what a typical day or week is like at a PR agency?

A. In an agency environment there is no such thing as a typical day. Each day is really different depending of the needs of the client.  Most people work far beyond a 9-5 day, which is certainly not to be found in a PR agency. There are lots of long hours especially at the start of your career.

Q. Do you write a lot?

A. At the entry-level you are absolutely writing a lot.  You should love writing and understand you are going to be doing a lot of it. It’s really important you are a concise communicator with particular attention to detail and quality.

Q. What is the most stressful part about working in PR?

A. In an agency, clients are calling you in because they need you immediately. When working with media, you must adhere to media deadlines.  You need to move quickly and you have to be tapped into what is happening in the industry, you have to be readily available at all times.

Q. What parts of your job do you find are personally satisfying?

A. I love helping clients solve problems.  It’s really satisfying when you can help clients achieve success through communications.

Q. What type of personality do you think is best suited to work in public relations?

A. It is difficult to say there is one particular personality type. The industry attracts both introverts and extroverts.

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