'Never, ever lie' - 19 top tips for those starting out in the PR industry

Ahead of a discussion with PR students at the University of Lincoln, BakerBaird Communications director Stuart Baird asked 19 comms pros to give their top tips for those starting out in the PR industry.

'Always be on time' – one of 19 top tips for new PR starters (©ThinkstockPhotos)
'Always be on time' – one of 19 top tips for new PR starters (©ThinkstockPhotos)

This is what they said:

1. Don't panic... and laugh in the face of adversity

2. Never, ever lie. In PR you're only as good as your credibility

3. University isn't everything. What you need to be successful in PR, you learn on the job

4. Be absolutely sure you enjoy the job

5. Prove your strategic value by questioning and don't be afraid to say what you think

6. Be on time

7. Keep promises

8. When planning, focus on the outcomes you want to achieve and work back from that

9. Don't be pushed around by power-hungry senior colleagues

10. Be humble and smart enough to listen carefully to what your audience wants

11. You may be in PR but you need to know intimately how marketing works, because your clients/colleagues will

12. Don't be afraid to ask questions and ask for help

13. Be incredibly well organised

14. Be professional and polite at all times - but you can still have huge amounts of fun

15. Try to put yourself in the client's position and think like a client

16. Think about what the person you want to reach is thinking

17. Understand your audience and be passionate about your subject - it's infectious

18. Understand what your three key skills are and find a role that incorporates them

19. Don't expect your career to go in a straight line, it will meander

Building on the response, Baird told PRWeek: "I would add that 'every day is a school day' - and that applies to us all in the profession, not just new starters. And 'engagement is a contact sport' - PR is about people and relationships; no decent relationship exists long-term without close contact."

He will present the findings tomorrow (9 February), ahead of many of the students entering the comms industry this year.

Baird gathered the responses from former colleagues who worked at the now defunct Central Office of Information (COI).

The CIO was the government department responsible for providing communications and advertising services to other organisations in the public sector. It was closed in 2012 with remaining functions transferred to the Cabinet Office.

Read next: 17 PR professionals' 17-word predictions on what we'll see in 2017

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