About a week ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) Mentorship Dinner, not as a student or speaker but to learn from some industry greats and refresh my mind on the Public Relations (PR) profession.
When I saw the flyer on the Facebook wall of Noel Nutsugah, a lecturer at GIJ, I quickly reached out to him and expressed my interest to attend. He explained that it was meant for the students, but I could go as a guest.
While there, I was busy on my phone the entire time, taking notes from the great people who were there to speak to these students. These are the key takeaways from some of the speakers at the event.
Georgina Asare Fiagbenu, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at MTN Ghana:
- Build good relationships because relationships are priceless in the PR industry.
- If you build a good relationship at your workplace, you will be able to overcome corporate politics and also work with or without a budget.
- If we prove our worth, there is a lot of impact we can have on our organisations.
- The work of a PR person is not for people who love talking but for people who love to make an impact.
- As a PR professional, you need a lot of excellence to succeed. Most importantly, you must know your stuff.
Praise Nutakor, Head of Communications and Partnership – UNDP Ghana:
- PR is a very overwhelming job because you are always working.
- The PR department is the media house in your organisation.
- If you are a lazy person, please change your mind because PR is not a profession for lazy people.
- The PR field is more of brain work and a lot of reading.
- PR is a very exciting career which is ever-evolving.
- In communication, you have to be a jack of all trades and master of all.
- This is an industry that is always changing because there are new trends that come up every day; develop yourself, start researching how to develop communication strategies, and how to run successful PR campaigns. And when you get internship opportunities, take advantage of them and learn as well.
- As a PR professional, you should be interested in what happens in your disciplines as well.
- In PR, it is very important to get mentors. When you get mentors, don’t be only interested in getting jobs from them, but also be interested in learning from them; follow them, follow their organisations, read what they do and what their organisations do as well.
- When you get any internship or job, work hard.
- Be mindful of your online footprint because most organisations run searches on people before giving them PR jobs.
Ohenewaa Brown, Communication/ PR Manager, ActionAid Ghana:
- No experience is little or too small in this industry.
- Mentors guide us, they help us achieve our goals. Mentors can also help us understand the industry.
- The PR profession is not glamorous, it is also not an 8-5 job.
- Always bear in mind how to be exceptional and be different in your field.
- Create LinkedIn account and use them to build your online presence.
- In PR, every single day of your life, you have to wear a different hat so you need to be prepared for all of this.
- The world is moving in a manner that no business sets its goals without including the SDGs.
- As a PR person, you need to know what the SDGs are.
- In the PR space, we support each other and when someone is recommended in that space, we go with that recommendation.
- Let us all try and protect our reputation and the reputation of our mentors as well.
- As a PR person, always smile but have boundaries.
- Most importantly, be willing to work hard.
- Tap into all the resources that you have, even with the lecturers you have.
This is a great initiative put together by the GIJ Faculty of Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing (FOPAM) that will go a long way to prepare students for the job market.
>>>the writer is a Communication and Media Relations Specialist who has worked with several brands such as Global Media Alliance, Planet Sports Limited, Noyam African Dance Institute, Design and Technology Institute, Daily Guide, among others.