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Want to join the PR industry? Four tips on how you can achieve this 

AIMC alumna Sulagna Pal, a Senior Account Executive with Adfactors PR, says one must have the willingness to self-improve and constantly upskill to keep up with industry standards

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Communication has always appealed to Sulagna Pal, an alumna of Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC) both as education and personal interest. “My interest in mass communication grew when I read this book ‘Now They Tell Us’ by Michael Massing, which taught me the importance of journalism and the impact of objective news.” After completing her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from University of Calcutta, she decided to pursue a programme in Corporate Communication and Event Management from AIMC.

At present, Sulagna is working with Adfactors PR as a Senior Account Executive. She has expertise in the corporate and finance sectors where she is responsible for driving integrated media campaigns and communication strategies for banks, start-ups and conglomerates, which are a mix of Indian and global brands. In an interview, she shares tips for aspirants planning to pursue a career in PR. 

Identify your key strengths: If you love storytelling and influencing consumer behaviour; if you are good at relationship building and networking; if you can work under challenging circumstances and still weave beautiful narratives; if you have a nose for news and can foresee crises and if you want to create tangible impact through strategy, PR is absolutely meant for you. 

Keep yourself updated: A business’s reputation is of paramount importance. Great reputation management is about understanding brands, creating strong media profiles and identifying what a good story looks like. Besides these, it’s also about thinking on your feet and following your instincts. If you are considering PR as a career option, your first step should be to consume media, be social savvy and keep yourself abreast with news and trends across platforms. Writing and being a content expert is secondary and can be achieved with practice over time. PR or Integrated Communications is the need of the hour for every business we can possibly think of, and it is here to stay.

Focus on upskilling your traits: Upskilling isn’t just a buzzword; it’s crucial to embed it as a practice. It’s simply upgrading yourself for the better to enhance competencies. Today, in this competitive world we are expected to have skills beyond what is expected of us. Companies are investing heavily on their employees to upskill them so as to increase productivity and survive in high competition. In the current scenario, every individual must have relevant skills to offer to an organisation and also the willingness to self-improve and upskill to match the new industry standards constantly.

Internships play a big role:  They provide one with the relevant professional experience beyond what students have learnt in class. Internships form an important part of your resume-building activities and help set you apart from the competition. I had the opportunity to get hands-on experience through internships in media houses such as The Statesman, The Hindu, CNBC-TV18, and companies which required marketing support. While I was in my final year of graduation, I opted for a PR internship in Kolkata to experience what it feels like on-ground and how it is different from theory. This was my calling and was a game-changing experience and I was very clear that I wanted to get a specialised degree focusing on PR. Looking at the larger scheme of things, it was imperative to academically train myself in the field of public relations because I wanted to land a job in a reputed firm and the stakes were high.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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