Posted by: Rajiv Harjai | March 10, 2007

Skills Set for Students to attain for the PR Employment Market.

Recently, a couple of discussions in the Indian Public Relations Professionals forum have started about Education of PR in India, which also started another key discussion about PR professors, do not understand PR.  

Many said that the syllabus being taught, is inadequate, the Subjects, the methodology, etc need to be updated according to the demands of the industry. The professors are blamed for their inability to incorporate the practical element of the course, since they spend all their time focusing on the theoretical bits.   Students are also to be blamed since they lack initiative and are not interested in going the extra mile to gain skill sets. 

The bottom line of these discussions is that students are not well equipped with the right skill set to work, which should ideally include a blend of theory as well as practical experience.  

This made me introspect as a student, about the skill set which I already have and I am trying to attain. Just possessing skill sets is not enough, you have to prove them as well in the real market.  The employer should know that you have a great skill set and you will be an asset to the company.

Below I am listing some ideas which will help students attain certain practical ‘Skill Sets’ which will add to their theoretical skill set they have attained through education.

1. In today’s world Blogging is becoming an important issue in regards to Public Relations.  By Blogging a student can attain a great skill set, which an employer can see.  Your PR writing skills will be shown; your understanding of PR events; your current affairs Knowledge and ; how much you are of an opinion leader; your contacts (another important part of PR); your skills of using computers (which is common, but important).

2. By ‘Work Shadowing’  a student can get good experience before graduating in the particular field which he is studying his degree in. Most students don’t do work shadowing, as it is unpaid work, but students should see that in the long run that will prove to be very beneficial.  This further gives you a great skill set to show to an employer.

3. Campaign hosting/designing: currently I am in the process of designing a “Speed Dating” campaign for my fellow classmates, here I will invite 5-10 PR professionals and have them mingle with my fellow classmates, to enable them to learn and build contacts.  The part about “Speed Dating” that comes into play is that some students are shy and don’t talk so much.  So speed dating idea (as everyone knows) is good as the basic concept is that everyone has to talk to everyone in the room.  This way all students will have an opportunity to talk to every PR professional and learn from PR professionals about their experience.  It will also give the students an opportunity to make some contacts.  Through this your employer can see your organisational skills; persuasion skills; Leadership skills, this is a great Skill set to have.

Maybe professors at the university should guide every student to get certain Skill sets; give ideas to students. Students themselves can be creative and come up with new ideas or use the ones which are given, in either case there would be a lot of knowledge gain.

Every student should remember that, only having an academic degree is not enough for the PR market today, a variety of skill sets beyond the academics are required to beat the competition.

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Responses

  1. I feel in India, it is quite difficult for students to do work shadowing. Reason being such opportunities are difficult to attain as these are mostly gained by references.

    Most of the universities/colleges do help out students for work shadowing but that help is not enough. The help is limited to students and resources. Sometimes with the help of university you may get a choice which you may not like. In such a case, students prefer doing a job in a call centre or sitting at home and have the audacity to submit fake thank you letters from companies by using their references/contacts.
    However, this is not applicable to all the universities and colleges. There are some good premium institutes who actually help students out for job shadowing. But these premium institutes can be counted on fingers.

    If work shadowing is encouraged by universities, then this would be a great help to students who really want to grow and learn. Furthermore, students can learn to adapt to the environment of the corporate world. These students in return would prove to be an asset for the companies/industry/market.

    Thanks for these skill set ideas they are useful.


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