Candice Au Eong Candidate Resources

A Singaporean's Guide to Getting Ahead in your PR Career

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No doubt the job market is still taking time to recover, but we in PR & Communications know it’s no time to lepak. While the pandemic is changing the business world as we know it, new opportunities have also arisen as companies and hiring managers begin looking at different skill sets, and candidates similarly strive to upskill and better position themselves moving forward. Luckily, as seasoned recruiters in this industry, we’ve been listening to both sides of the coin and have a few helpful tips to get ahead as PR professionals.

Going Digital, Embracing Numbers

It’s no secret that marketing and PR jobs are some of the hardest to fill in Singapore. You probably know this already, but PR is no longer just about media relations and writing press releases. Though strong content writing skills are still definitely essential, the ability to use multimedia digital platforms, strategy work, and analysing big data have really risen to the top of the wishlist for hiring managers. Especially when in-person outreach is becoming less and less feasible in the foreseeable future, digital transformation of companies and thus talent is key to growth, with even the government pushing for local SMEs to digitise.

Here are just some of the few hot, value-adding skillsets we’ve been seeing employers ask for from future PR professionals: 

  • Digital Marketing: SEO, SEM, CRM, Email marketing 

  • Organic & paid social media marketing 

  • PR measurement and data analytics

  • Social media listening 

  • Crisis communications

As more PR teams embrace integrated campaigns, being able to execute content and digital marketing which complement your broader communications strategy will strengthen your track record. Outcome-focused measurement is also on the rise with companies demanding more. Many have shared with me that the days of reporting earned media value are numbered -- businesses are focused on results and not time spent at a desk. While it’s not necessary to be the ultimate expert in dissecting data and metrics, it will be a competitive advantage to know the basics on using the data and approach to measurement which can uncover many aspects such as market sentiment and site traffic. 

Build Valuable Relationships

Regardless of whether you work inhouse, in an agency, or your seniority level, you can always step up your game by striving to be a trusted advisor to the stakeholders you work with. What that means is to go above and beyond what you ‘have’ to do. When you’re utilising subject matter expertise, knowledge and experience, go further. Offer your strategic opinions, tap on your business acumen, be genuinely invested in understanding and helping your stakeholders achieve their objectives through a close partnership over the longer term. Despite the gloriousness of NDP2020, we know it’s only more challenging times ahead, so if you can help the people you work with to flag opportunities, threats and initiate difficult conversations needed for the best outcome, the value add you’ll bring to the table will only increase. While the market is becoming increasingly competitive with more candidates than jobs to fill, gaining trust and building a strong relationship with your stakeholders can directly translate into your job security and professional growth. 

If you’re currently looking for a job, working with a recruiter can also help you build your connections. Well-established recruiters have great networks in their industries, and may be able to get you in front of the hiring manager you didn’t know existed, for a company you didn’t know was hiring. Plus, because the PR industry does rely slightly on matched personalities and whether someone is a right ‘fit’ for the company’s culture, recruiters can serve as a good middleman to place like-minded candidates and employers together (and it doesn’t cost you a thing!).

Don’t Sabo Yourself

In Singapore, you’ll probably remember the hype around the infamous Sunday Times survey where PR specialists emerged as one of the most non-essential jobs voted by the general population. Yet, did you know that in other reports PR/Comms executives have been recognised as the 8th most stressful job in the world? That’s just behind life-threatening jobs like soldiers and firefighters. Ultimately, when you really look at the work it takes behind-the-scenes (tight deadlines, difficult stakeholders, a constant need to adapt to the media and trends, lack of ROI...etc), it makes sense why PR careers can be overwhelming and stressful.

Yet, it is paramount that PR professional makes sure they’re not on the road to burnout. Especially now when we know there is a tough road ahead, you need to take the time off and get in some needed rest for you to be productive and then perform at the top of your game. We know this might take a little extra thought now that we’re working remotely, but taking time to rest will benefit you, your business, and your clients. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

What’s Next

As the PR profession continues to evolve, there is so much we can do to stay agile, innovative, and ‘future-proof.’ Here at 33 Talent, we know careers are never easy -- whether you’re a job seeker, looking for a career progression, or open to a switch -- and it can be helpful to have someone on your side.

If you’re looking for new opportunities in PR/Comms, reach out to me at candice@33talent.com and I’ll help you come up with an action plan, or take a look at our Job Board for any present roles we have that might suit you.
We’re also hosting a free webinar series for candidates who want to spruce up their Linkedin, CV, and digital interview skills. Don’t say bojio, sign up below.