This week’s A-level results were a disappointing mess. After being robbed of the chance to sit their exams, many students were unfairly downgraded because of an ill-considered algorithm. It’s not fair and I can only imagine how infuriating it must be for students that have worked hard to achieve their goals in a year unlike any other, only to miss out on a place at university.
Thankfully, a degree is not the only route into PR, but it got me thinking about what I learnt at the start of my career that has served me well since. In my opinion, being able to think critically and write well are key, but I was keen to see what others thought, so I asked the internet.
The response was fascinating. By far and away, the biggest theme is that future PR professionals must learn continuously. While learning about how the media works has always been important, young people must get to grips with countless constantly changing channels. They must learn to communicate visually and through audio, as well as the written word, and they will need a head for data and analytics, as brand communications become increasingly data-driven.
In a year of change, that many will remember for the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not surprising that being adaptable is seen as a key skill to master. Likewise, with the breakthrough moments for the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements, it’s great that communicators are being encouraged to challenge unconscious bias, be open-minded and actively work to ensure diversity of thought.
To get off to a flying start, tomorrow’s PR professionals should seize every opportunity to learn, gain new experience and break new ground in communications. Of course, things don’t always work out how we had hoped. Learning from missteps and thinking creatively to solve problems will be important – both now in the wake of this week’s A-level results and in the future workplace too.
PR & Media Pro’s reveal the must-have skills to master