Advice to people who enter the Public Relations Profession

By Hilda E. Wilson, APR, Fellow CPRS (Honorary)

1.Never stop learning.  Never assume you know enough about your profession to last throughout your career.
2.Have an inquisitive mind.  Think outside the box.
3.Never work on a project you don’t believe in.  You’re not lawyers who are obliged to defend a person you believe to be in the wrong.
4.When you take on an assignment put both your mind and your heart into it.  Detachment is for brain surgeons.  If your heart isn’t in it, you’ll do a mediocre job.
5.Don’t be word proud when others edit your writings.  Some who have approval authority make changes for the sake of change; otherwise, they’re not seen to be doing their jobs.  Some changes actually improve the message.
6.Unless you’re a one-man (or woman) show, don’t care who gets credit for a successful outcome.  The right people will know of your involvement.
7.Try not to be the company spokesperson.  People are still leery of PR-speak.  Train your CEO (or client) to speak from the horse’s mouth.
8.Get involved in your professional association to keep abreast of current trends, swap ideas, network and get to know your peers (even though some may become your competitors).
9.Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Mistakes are good teachers.  Self-esteem always precedes the respect others give to you.
10.And most importantly, behave in an ethical manner at all times and demonstrate fairness and integrity with staff, clients, colleagues and those you encounter in public situations while fulfilling your duties.
Hilda Wilson, APR, Fellow CPRS (honorary) entered the PR business in 1963 and retired in 1999. She founded the Hilda Wilson Group, one of Canada’s pre-eminent PR firms. Her profile will appear in an upcoming edition to the Jack Yocom Public Relations Profile Collection.