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From the Blog.

Career expectation v reality

Social media agency belfast clearbox
05. 09. 2022

Expectation vs. Reality: A career in PR

Nora is almost a year into her Clearbox journey and as the next generation of future PR leaders get ready to go to uni, she's been looking back on her own education and how the reality of PR stacks up against her expectations as a student.

Back in my uni days, I was tasked with an assignment that included the question ‘Why does a career in Public Relations interest me?’

Welcome to the summarised ‘Expectation vs. Reality’, an analysis of said essay, from the perspective of adult me who actually does work in PR. How accurate were my assumptions about the wonderful industry we call our own?

I kicked off with a strong opener, stating that while unable to pinpoint the exact role I’d call my own post-graduation (we aren’t mind readers after all, very relatable), I knew the PR industry as a whole greatly appealed to me.

Right, now we’re into the good stuff… backing up why I thought I’d be a good fit for the industry.

Notable quote number one: “I have always considered it important to stay up to date with what is going on in the world around me.” Absolutely still very much correct. Working in PR, it’s so important to stay on top of local, regional, national and world news.

I briefly mentioned how I felt that if living in a particular society, you should at least be aware of the current issues and trends, whether it be topical, social, political, economic, or environmental. Something that still rings very true is this next sentence: “I don’t feel as though I would be confident to inform a BBC News at 6 broadcast, but I like to at least retain a sweeping knowledge of current events.” Accurate, I wouldn’t stand a chance as a presenter.

“A career in Public Relations will require good communication skills and confidence in influencing opinion.” Correct, communication skills are so important in this industry.

I went on to discuss how I have always had a keen interest in sharing personal experiences with those around me. This is still very true (good or bad thing, you tell me). Ask me how I am, or how my day’s going, and you’ve bagged yourself front row seats to my TedTalk. Admittedly, I am sometimes a recognised member of the oversharing society.

Next up for discussion - social media… “Instagram is my favourite of the ever-increasing range of social media platforms available to us.” Still true for the most part. I love sharing a good photo dump on a Sunday evening, and yes this definitely did teach me transferable skills that I have carried into my career. I look after the Clearbox Instagram and this is something that would surely be a struggle without genuine enjoyment of the platform.

I felt “the online world and the importance of media relations are of extreme relevance” and that I wanted “to pursue a career that allowed me to work with these tools to aid success”. I talked a bit about how “the idea of writing to enhance or build the reputation of an organisation appeals in a big way; exploring relevant areas in order to pull out the positives and transform this information into positive media content.”

When people ask me what I do for a living these days, the easiest way to describe it is usually that ‘I write good news stories’. Past me, with this description of transforming information into positive media content, was bang on accurate.

This next point is a good one - “Effective time management is vital to many professional careers, and is no stranger to PR. When working with clients in any sense, it is important the service you are aiming to provide is followed through within the time frame expected by those on the receiving end.”

I cannot stress how important this is. Time management is everything in the world of PR. I swear by my to-do list and would be lost without it. Prioritising these lengthy lists is of huge benefit, putting your time into what is most pressing.

Now, we all have our down days and I’m no stranger to the good old imposter syndrome don’t get me wrong, but I’m a fan of this next bit…

“To succeed in a job, you must feel confident that you have what it takes to be successful. I have always been a believer that the only thing standing between an individual and an incredible career path is the belief that they have what it takes to be great at that role.”

Past-Nora over here raising the bar for self-belief!

We’ve now reached the closing statement, love a good, positive closing paragraph, always have and always will. “Approaching any job, especially one within an industry such as PR which is continually advancing, takes enthusiasm and commitment. I aim to find myself in a career that I enjoy, however my open-minded and work-orientated personality will also require a career that provides a constant challenge and opportunity to improve.”

In summary, I wasn’t far off with my predictions of what a career in PR would involve, however there are plenty of things I’ve learned on the job that I never expected I would need to know, and every day is still a school day no matter how many years post-grad.

In terms of finding a career that provides a constant challenge and opportunity to improve, 10/10 accuracy here. I’ve certainly found a career I enjoy, and that constantly challenges me to be the best I can be professionally. The team I have here at Clearbox are pretty great too.

The world of Public Relations continues to grow and could be considered by many to be one of the most influential industries in modern society. It’s a pretty great job with fantastic opportunities and I’m pretty pleased the wee uni student who wrote that essay made it here today.

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