PR Career Success: Four Rules to Live By

By Christine Pietryla, Senior Vice President at Walker Sands

In September, I had the pleasure of speaking with PRSSA members at my alma mater, University of Florida. During my presentation, I shared what a typical day as a PR executive looks like as well as some advice about starting and advancing your career in public relations.

While there are no shortcuts to a successful career in PR, I did share a few important tips that will help you thrive in your career and achieve your personal milestones.


Read Every Day

My day always starts with reading. Read early and often – everything from books to articles to blogs to social media posts. During interviews, I ask candidates to describe what and how often they read. Why? Because reading and staying informed are important for helping you speak intelligently about current trends and events in the course of everyday PR interactions.

Stay Focused on the Big Picture

It’s important to establish your long-term goals early in your career, and understand why you are choosing that path. I’m not expecting you to have all of the answers at first, but you should have a clear sense about where you want to be ten years down the line. You have to know your destination before you can determine how to get there. Otherwise, you may be disappointed when its feels like your career lacks purpose later on.

Advocate for Yourself

Being your own best advocate is a fundamental part of achieving your professional goals. But many young professionals take a misdirected or passive approach when it comes to advocating for themselves and their careers—and that’s a big mistake when it comes to career advancement.

Young people must get past the misconception that just because they are young, they can’t add value in a conversation with their more senior colleagues. Individuals who recognize the value in their experienced colleagues and communicate their ideas intelligently will shine, regardless of age or seniority.

Build Your Personal Brand on Social Media

Often, recent college grads delete their social media profiles when they are job hunting. This is a misguided and potentially harmful decision. Instead, young PR pros should be present on social media and use it to build valuable connections during a job search.

Don’t get me wrong … you should definitely take down those questionable photos that depict you doing Jello shots at your fraternity kegger. But don’t be afraid to show off your personality with photos of you and your friends going out to dinner or doing other fun activities.

At the end of the day, be yourself and remember that good PR is about hustle, hard work and dedication. If you focus on doing your best, being confident in your abilities and staying curious, you can set yourself up for a successful PR career.

Follow Christine on Twitter @cpietryla