Whether you’re switching careers or just entering the professional world, starting a career in a new industry can be intimidating. For me, switching from being a sales representative to entering the PR industry was daunting. But two years later, I can honestly say that I’ve learned more on the job than I ever could have in a classroom. These tips can help you improve your professional skills and knowledge and help you make a great impression as you begin your journey in public relations:

1. Work on improving your writing. Writing is a staple in many careers especially ones in communication. Like any other skill, you become better with practice. Whenever you can, take time to write; whether it’s free-form or structured, any practice will help.

2. Internships. I can’t emphasize this enough. The more work experience you have, the better your chances are of getting into the PR world. Hold a communications position at an on-campus club or organization, or even take on a summer internship at an agency. Anything it takes to learn the skills you need to succeed.

3. Keep your drive to learn. Graduating from college doesn’t mean that you close the book on learning. In order to be successful, you must continue to learn well after school is out. Take advantage of any seminars that your company has available and research other local marketing companies or professional organizations to help strengthen your skills.

4. Utilize all of your connections. The PR world is all about the personal and professional connections that you make along the way. Reach out to any PR pro you know or have met and get their feedback and any tips that they have for you. Set up informational interviews, and if the opportunity comes for you to job shadow, take full advantage of it.

5. Build relationships. Public relations is a relationship-driven industry. Having connections with media, coworkers and industry peers not only gives you support in your career, but it also opens the door to new opportunities for you and your clients. Once you start your new job, don’t think that’s the end of making connections – now it’s time to foster them. Schedule regular coffee or lunch dates with colleagues, go to networking events, and take every opportunity to build your network of relationships.

We hope these tips help you prepare for your journey into the PR world. Remember, these skills will play a critical role in your success. Good luck!