What does it take to succeed in the communications field? Here are our top four attributes of a successful PR professional.

By Amanda Margozzi
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

What defines success?

If one simple answer to this question had been already agreed upon, there’d be 7 billion Elon Musks walking around.

So rather than attempt to answer one of life’s toughest questions, I’ll narrow my thoughts in on what it takes to be a successful PR professional, specifically.

In the last year of my agency life, I’ve continually strived to be the best writer, communicator, teammate and, recently, manager that I can be. Of course, no one becomes a success overnight, but living by certain core attributes has undoubtedly contributed to my progress thus far:

Contribution to Others’ Success

We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” In order to ensure account success, it’s imperative for teammates to be aware of each other’s bandwidth. If your assignments are all complete, but your teammate’s plate is overflowing, take the initiative to offer a helping hand.

Critical Thinking

Working in PR requires the ability to handle multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal. If you find your head is spinning from the five different client requests that just came in, it’s time to press pause. Take a deep breath, step back and thoughtfully consider next steps for best completing the projects in an efficient manner.

Creativity

It can often feel as though as soon as you’ve finalized a tactical PR plan for an announcement or campaign, someone throws a curveball your way. Having a high tolerance for ambiguity and finding creative ways to adapt to unforeseen circumstances are critical to solving the problem.

Accountability

In an industry driven by deadlines, the single most important thing you can do is take responsibility for completing projects on time. If you are given an assignment with an unmanageable deadline, communicate this to your manager. There’s always a way to set realistic expectations by reporting your progress regularly or even offering an alternative deadline.

Whether you’re a fresh-out-of-college intern or a seasoned executive in the business, these attributes can be applied agency-wide. When it comes to success, the bar you set for yourself should be ever-rising.

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