Getting a PR job in a changing communications landscape

In about a year I’ll be applying for a full-time job in Communications/Public Relations after completing requirements of my master’s degree in Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I know in order stay ahead of the competition I’ll have to do more than the required coursework. I’ll have to do outside research in order to develop the skills PR pros need today. In addition to the basic PR skills I’ll learn in school (for which PRWeek awarded Newhouse in 2011), I’ll need to demonstrate that I’m capable of:

-Developing public relations and social media strategies, integrated programs and success metrics that are aligned to business objectives and priorities.
-Effectively managing relationships with Public Relations and Social Media agencies and facilitate integration with agency partners to ensure strategic alignment
-Driving the creation of a strategic public relations and social media plan with on-going consideration of the role consumer content creators and digital technology play in communicating PR messages to our target audiences.
-Working with client and account teams to define KPI’s for success and track against them and implement measurement programs to address client KPI’s.
-Working with account teams to provide analysis of social landscape and audience buzz volume, frequency, velocity, demographics, and related dimensions.

and more skills that have yet to be formalized. The field of public relations is in flux and formal education is not enough to remain the most relevant and most valuable job applicant. Arik Hanson listed 10 skills PR pros must develop (by 2022, but I believe they will be valuable much earlier) in his post.

However many different skills I need to develop above and beyond schoolwork (graphic design, PR writing, media law, business courses, writing for digital platforms, theory, research, management, campaign planning and execution, and two internships), I’m not waiting until courses start to start my own education.

I’ve begun reading Brian Solis’ The End of Business as Usual, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents, and Katie Paine’s Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. If there are any current PR, digital, marketing, social strategy etc pros reading this, what else do you suggest to give myself a leg up and be prepared for the new social reality of PR when I graduate?

By the way, the kind of job I want after I finish earning my degree is working as a Community Manager for Edelman Digital (in California, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, or Toronto (I also have Canadian citizenship)). Details below:

Community Manager – Digital

Location: CHICAGO
Job Req #: 1939


Edelman Digital is in search of a Community Manager!Edelman Digital is the digital and social media arm of Edelman, the largest independent PR firm in the world. We are 600 full-time digital professionals focusing on the intersection of culture, commerce and media, assisting brands in leveraging digital and social tools to further engage their markets. Ad Age listed Edelman in the top 10 agencies of the decade – the only PR agency to make the list.  We believe that is because we combine deep digital expertise with Edelman’s incredible communication credentials to create integrated and effective communications and experiences for our clients.  We focus on the intersection of culture, commerce and media, assisting brands in leveraging digital and social tools to further engage their markets in ways that lead to improved relevance, affinity and preference….and ultimately, revenue.

If you share this vision and think you have what it takes to help us take our Chicago team (and business!) to new heights, read on. Please note this position is 32 hours a week.

The Community Manager must have three to five years of communications experience
The Community Manager should have a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in journalism/business/marketing, a solid grasp of community management/digital marketing, a strong social media footprint, and acute knowledge of emerging trends and technologies.
S/he should have excellent skills, both written and verbal, and thrive in a fast-paced business environment while working effectively with team members and clients. Core understanding of brands and brand character a plus, and online campaign experience for a CPG client is preferred.
S/he must be motivated, detailed-oriented, analytical and highly organized with the ability to manage multiple project deadlines efficiently.
Be the eyes, ears and mouth of the brand online – monitor all community engagement and conversation within social hubs/online destinations
Be a trusted liaison between the brand and constituents
Be a conversation driver by creating quality content on a daily basis that elicits community interaction
Track and monitor conversations online to glean actionable insights and deliver analysis reports
Help guide the strategic direction of the brand’s social engagement
Report on events prior to, at, and after the experience (stream video, post updates, post live pictures)
Research new media technology; Understand and apply advanced search knowledge for both visibility and investigative needs

About Edelman:
Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 63 offices and more than 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year.” Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (brands + experiences), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment), and Edelman Consulting. Visit for more information. Edelman is an Equal Opportunity Employer.