A degree in public relations is not necessary when attempting to find work in the PR industry. A classic liberal arts education with demonstrated intellectual achievement in a wide variety of disciplines, such as English, science, or business will be very attractive to a multitude of agencies. That said, a strong communications background will bring an understanding of the business that others may not have. Most people just starting out in our business tend to be generalists, and can be trained in specialty areas.
When interviewing, it is important to demonstrate qualities like a strong work ethic, an openness to new thinking and new experiences, and even a sense of humor. It is also a good idea to emphasize student leadership activities because these experiences are often a laboratory for learning strategy and networking, strengthening interpersonal skills, and getting a taste of sales and management. Leadership positions also tend to build confidence, which often separates the selected candidate from the runner-up.
Steve Seeman is VP at Makovsky & Company.