Back in the day it was the done thing to join a company after university and stay for life. So many people from the Baby Boomer generation (1940-1960) did just that. A job for life was actually a thing.
Then, for the next generation, it was expected that whatever career you chose after university (or chose you!) became your career for life, even if you were bored or hated it. You may change jobs several times within your industry, but once a lawyer always a lawyer, and all of that.
Even though that has changed a lot in the past 20 or so years, how many millennials who are earning decent money but stuck in careers where they are unfulfilled actually take the plunge and try something new?
Incidentally, for today’s new job market entrants, it’s totally normal to have several jobs and careers all at once. Known as the “slash generation”, you see young people who are marketing execs/yoga instructors/DJs all at once! But for those who have been working for a little while and gone a bit further up the food chain, change can be daunting.
There are not many benefits of Covid but it has given many people the time, space and courage to really think long and hard about what they are doing. If you have found that the career you are in is not for you then know that there are other options out there.
A career in PR is a great way to use many transferable skills developed across a range of industries but in a fun, creative and challenging industry. PR of course has media relations at its heart, but so many of the skills that we look for in our top people can just as well be found in management consultants, professional services, marketing, recruitment, advertising, technology, education, public sector, business and many more careers with similar transferrable skills.
Are you good with people? Do you have a calm demeanour that can help navigate a stressed client through a challenging situation? Are you organised and good at planning? Are you strategic and not afraid to ask difficult questions and challenge the status quo? Do you thrive on meeting new people? Training juniors? Learning and talking about interesting new companies? Can you distil a lot of technical information and pull out the key points? Can you write and talk clearly? Are you interested in the world around you, keeping up to date with news and current affairs?
If you can do most or all of these things, even if you have never spoken to a journalist in your life then you could well have the makings of a great PR consultant.
After university, all I really wanted was to work in London in the City. Lawyer, investment banker, management consultant or Big 4 accountancy firm, I didn’t mind which. I had not even heard of corporate or financial communications at that point. After two years at Deloitte, I realised my strengths lay in business development, building relationships, talking to clients and consulting. I cared very little about the technical nature of the job and was not very good at that part of it either. I met a head-hunter by chance in the pub who spotted how transferable these skills were to the communications industry and after a few months of interviews I took the plunge, and never looked back. That was 16 years ago.
My story is not unique. But I was lucky – right place right time and all of that. You don’t need to be lucky, you just need to think laterally and get in touch with PRO.
You never know, you could have a great new career waiting for you.
Marc Cohen is co-managing director at The PR Office.