It is often said “you learn best while on-the-job”. Sure, working does give you exposure and experience. However, as it is essential to any part of a job in Public Relations, it’s always better to be prepared. Imagine joining a PR firm and being able to comfortably grasp most tasks you’re given for the first time! That’s how you should feel from the moment you enter the PR world, and the institute you choose to study at should cover as much as they can during your PR course.
1. Up-to-Date Curriculum
The PR course and its modules should be in line with and relevant to what’s happening in the PR and communication business.
Workshops during a PR course can make up for any gaps in the course structure, as they are independent and can be conducted based on what’s happening in the PR world in real-time.
Breaking down case studies is one of the best ways to show students how PR can be used for different things in different ways. It helps when the examples of familiar brands are used.
2. The Right Faculty
The faculty should comprise of PR and corporate communications professionals, as well as others who are connected to the profession in different ways. Practical knowledge is the key. For students, going from being part of the target audience to eventually joining the business – it only makes sense to learn from these professionals.
Students need to be encouraged to ask questions in whatever they do. Teachers must also facilitate experimentation with the way students approach projects and assignments.
3. Choose a Place that Offers Practical Exposure
It is not enough to give students notes to which they may or may not refer. Students doing a PR course need to be able to apply that knowledge and perform tasks on a regular basis using that knowledge.
Most people who manage to make their way into a PR course can write, covering the general basics. But once you’re there, even the basics must be reiterated, and extra guidelines added on. This should also include how to write emails and draft different kinds of documents such as a pitch note and a press release (they are not the same).
Through this exposure to corporate offices and PR firms, students also get to see how PR and corporate communications teams work together.
4. Build Skills for Research, Clients and Media Relations
There is so much more to how the world of PR and Communications functions, but covering these points in a PR course gives both students and institutes a good start.
For students reading this – If the institute/course you’re considering covers these essentials (and hopefully more), you’re good to go. Above all, as they say, “It’s what you make of it!”
A version of this article originally appeared on Shiksha.com
– Amani Kerr
Amani is currently a Digital Communications Associate. She studied History at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC), Mumbai. Amani loves to sing and has lent her voice to several musical projects. She is currently writing and composing original music for her first EP. She can be reached at @amani_kerr on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.