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It’s almost 2010! With the tough economy and job market, young public relations professionals should make New Year’s Resolutions to help them succeed into the next decade.

1. Improve your writing skills.

Don’t be vague with this resolution. Set clear steps and goals to achieve it. Great steps include reading blogs about writing (I like Copyblogger and Write to Done) and starting a blog. Set goals, such as freelance writing for a local publication and finding a writing mentor to help give you tips on improving.

2.  Expand your network.

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Rather than attending networking events and just collecting business cards, try to establish a good relationship with people. You can do this on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and, of course, in person. Additionally, I suggest meeting a few of your local social media contacts in-person (this is how I met two of my very good friends, Mikinzie and Hannah).

3. Learn something new.

Employers are looking for young professionals who can do more than just write a press release. In 2010, I suggest you try to expand your skills in order to be more competitive in the workplace. I suggest learning how to use Creative Suite 4 (like InDesign, PhotoShop and DreamWeaver) and basic HTML/CSS. Maybe you should learn a foreign language. You also may consider learning more about subjects you know the basics in, such as business, economics, photography, marketing and advertising. Lastly, it’s always fun to learn about other things that may not relate to your career. Last year, I read a book about archaeology and now I am reading about the CIA.

4. Take on a freelance client.

You probably don’t have the resources to take on a client like Starbucks, but your skills could greatly help a local nonprofit or business. Find a prospective client, prepare a pitch and offer your services. Create a communication plan, pitch to local media and help them strategically use social media. It will make for a great portfolio piece and interview discussion subject.

5. Make time spent on social media more productive/effective.

Many of us are on Twitter and LinkedIn and also read blogs. But, are you just lurking? In order to build relationships, you need to participate in the social media sphere. Reply to followers on Twitter, join LinkedIn discussions and comment on blogs. This will help people learn who you are and help build relationships.

Do you have other resolutions to suggest to young PR professionals?


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel M. Esterline , Tiffany McMillen. Tiffany McMillen said: RT: @rachelesterline 5 New Year’s Resolutions For Young PR Pros #jb4520 [...]

  2. I would also say do some reading on PR. Books like PR 2.0 and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations have excellent recommendations and I don’t think they would disappoint. I just started reading PR 2.0.

  3. Hi Rachel,

    Great list! In the networking category I agree building relationships is key and social media helps us do this on a daily basis. If you can, get out and meet the pros too. I love Twitter because it makes it pretty easy to do research and find out who the PR pros are and follow them. I learned about hastags such as #dcflacks – a group for PR and Public Affairs folks in DC – and this group meets at least once a month.

  4. Great post. I would really like to emphasize your 5th point since your social presence is something you always have the opportunity to improve on. But why for 2010 specifically? The answer is the growing importance and profound changes the real-time web will have on the internet and search. More and more social sites are being indexed by search engines, giving you more opportunity to be found across the web. Now is the time to really make your content count.

  5. [...] Five New Year’s Resolutions for Young PR Pros [...]

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Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.