Started your career as a PR professional, working in-agency or for a brand, but not quite sure if it’s the right role for you? The skills you’ve earned as a PR pro are infinitely transferable to other industries and roles, particularly when emerging industries like fintech are crying out for talent who can tell a great story. We’ve put together a few potential career change options for PR pros who want to explore what’s out there.
The first step is really understanding the skills you have as a PR pro that you could transfer into a new career. Consider:
- Your skills with storytelling, whether it’s press releases, outreach emails, blog posts or social media posts. Businesses in all industries are desperate for people who can translate tech talk into stories that multiple audiences will resonate with. Whether it’s communicating with investors, customers or the general public, storytelling is a real trend in marketing and organisations who leverage this sort of content are looking for team members with the skills.
- Your ability to manage multiple stakeholders, deadlines and messaging is one that will stand you in good stead, no matter your career transition. The ability to identify and communicate mutually beneficial outcomes to a range of stakeholders is vital for plenty of organisations and industries.
- Your resourcefulness – how many times have you created a story out of pretty much nothing, and got it a run that the client was stoked about? PRs are also old hands at maximising results with small budgets, figuring out how to best utilise all the resources at their disposal.
- Your organisation skills – managing clients, journalists, imagery, samples and assets is all in a days work for a PR. Throw in an event or two, a fast approaching deadline and a client who’s unavailable for comment, and a PRs organisational skills come to the fore.
- Your ability to network and build relationships. The skills you have honed in learning how to connect with journalists will set you up for success in any industry.
- If you’ve worked in fashion, your ability to identify and leverage trends can be translated to identifying trends across other industries. White papers and trend reports are becoming an important part of thought leadership – consider Afterpay’s recent reports into how millennials spend their money.
Once you’ve identified the skills you have as a public relations professional that are transferable, you can start considering the industries that appeal to you.
Editorial Within Tech
According to BOF, in 2021, “two of Condé Nast’s editors in chief, Allure’s Michelle Lee and Them’s Whembley Sewell, separately announced they were exiting to work for Netflix’s editing and publishing team.” Marie Claire editor Aya Kanai moved to Pinterest and Vogue’s Sally Singer moved to Amazon. Teen Vogue and Allure fashion director Rajni Jacques works with the team at Snapchat, and Self editor Carolyn Kylstra is now at Google. Media and fashion PR is struggling to compete with the salaries, innovation and excitement that can be offered at Fintech firms in particular, with Australian organisations like Afterpay and Canva leading the talent acquisition push. The good news for PRs who want to work with big budgets and super smart team members, as storytelling is a vital part of the customer acquisition process for these tech brands.
Consulting and Freelance
The pandemic significantly sped up the number of people transitioning away from full time employment to consulting and freelance. According to research by US based firm Payoneer, 30% of freelancers reported higher demand for their services since the pandemic began, while 45 percent reported that demand stayed constant without slowing. The fields of programming, marketing and finance showed the strongest growth. A move to consulting offers PR pros more flexibility, freedom, and particularly benefits women, allowing them to tailor their working lives to fit around other commitments. As in-house departments shrink, it’s also an opportunity to offer specialist skills that are no longer found within teams.
In a recent study by First Round in 2019, “nearly 80% of startup founders said that building a community of users is important to their business and 28% even naming it as their competitive moat and critical to their success” (source). This is why community hires are vital for the tech community, and rely on storytelling, relationship building and content creating skills, which makes PRs uniquely suited for the task. Most startups in the tech community will invest in team members in this area.
Content and Copywriting
PRs are typically great at writing – all those hours spent honing press releases, social media posts, influencer outreach and event plans will be put to good use as a copywriter. Lean into your storytelling skills, and your ability to make even the most complicated concepts consumable by an audience who is used to skim reading.
Reporting on Trends
If you’re in fashion PR, you’re no doubt ideally placed to predict and share trends. Your work to date has involved identifying up and coming issues and determining the best way to respond to them in order to get the best results for your client. These skills can be transferable to large brands, as they are increasingly using their in-house data to predict trends and publish reports on their findings, including Pinterest, Afterpay, Shopify and Australia Post.
As organisations transition to flexible work, with considerable numbers of their workforces continuing to work remotely, the role of internal communications professionals has become more significant. PRs have the skills to build narratives for a variety of stakeholders, making them ideally suited to a role in internal communications. Activations, engagement and storytelling are all part of your existing wheelhouse, making this an easy career transition.
Any you’d add to the list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.