Building Your Skill Set

We all know that writing is key to excel in public relations. But we’ve also all heard that a diverse skill set is important to set us apart from the many other internship and job applicants we’ll be up against in the very near future. Proficiency in a variety of categories will help make for a more valuable and knowledgeable employee. However, in order to add these important new skill sets to a repertoire one must continue the learning process even beyond the familiar classroom environment that so many of us have grown comfortable with over the years.

What if it’s not what they had in mind? What if this isn’t what they meant? How am I supposed to do this? Could all be possible questions running through anyone’s head when trying to accomplish something they’ve never tried. As soon as anyone get’s past these doubts and accepts the fact that mistakes will be made, the new experiences and unavoidable learning will take place.

At the same time, it can be difficult to branch out while feeling the pressure to excel and make positive impressions at our internships. It’s easy to do things the same old way without trying new unfamiliar tactics. In the case of my internship, I’m learning to embrace different forms of multimedia in ways I’ve never done before despite my initial apprehension since I have limited, close to zero, experience producing quality video content and the variety of ways to shoot it.Image

Exposure alone will help us find new skills that we excel at and can lead to further developing the particular ones we gravitate towards. Whether those new talents involve design, photography or video production, every addition to one’s skill set will make them a more attractive potential employee. In addition to those always expected writing skills, of course.

Melany Boulton


About maboulton2012

My name is Melany Boulton and I'm a junior public relations student at the University of Oregon looking forward to graduating next spring in 2012. I am an enthusiastic person and very excited about the path I am currently on working towards a career in PR. I just have to figure out what I want to pursue in this incredibly diverse and unique industry.
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12 Responses to Building Your Skill Set

  1. wilsonemily says:

    Great post! I totally agree that diversifying your skill sets (beyond the usual writing proficiency) is key to succeeding in any public relations position! I also agree that this is a hard thing to do; it’s not always so easy to leave behind the classroom mentality that we’re transitioning from. But it’s great that you’re branching out your skill sets into multimedia; I definitely think that will make you a better-prepared employee in the future! Good luck on the rest of the term!

    Emily Wilson

  2. Allyson Will says:

    Great post! You are definitely doing all the right things. It is extremely hard to go outside your comfort zone. I think what many people fear is messing up. Honestly, that is one way you can show your employers that you are trying new things and going outside the box. It is a scary feeling to not know what you’re doing but it will always end up being a great learning experience. If you just know a little bit about a few skills you will be ahead of the game!

  3. codynewton says:

    I really can be scary to step out of your comfort zone and give new things a shot. Especially when you’re around people who have been doing this for much longer than you. Sometimes I find that I hold myself to the abilities of the people that work around me, which just isn’t practical. They all started out at the bottom as well. However, if we do set our goals high then someday we’ll be where out supervisors are. LIke you said, we just need to not be afraid to do new things.

    Good luck!

  4. pdxsx says:

    Good job, Melanie! Step out of that comfort zone and into the world of creating value through adaptation!

  5. rkaapu says:

    New things are always scary but what a great way to put exploration into perspective. Learning builds character and it is important to try new things, as uncomfortable as they may be. I think it’s great that you get to try new things and it kind of gives you the push to do more.

  6. shannonkluss says:

    I think that its great that you are taking this time during your internship to get introduced to different multimedia facets. Even if you don’t master every design program out their (yikes!) I think it’s definitely worth your time and maybe even your sanity to be able to say to future employers that you have used certain programs and techniques! Keep it up and try and have fun with them!

  7. McKenzie Ingram says:

    Agreed! I have struggled with this over the last few weeks (in a good way!) too. I think that the best thing that we can do as “new” professionals, is to keep an open mind and be ready and willing to dig into any project. Every day at our new internship is like a training session for different skills. I’ve found that the days I’ve learned the most, are the ones where I step forward and ask to help with things I know nothing about. I generally try to explain to whoever is leading the project that I dont know much about whatever skill they are using, but I am eager to learn! A good attitude will create room for error. I think we all should be using this time at our internship to collect and master every skill that we possibly can. Who knows what our next job will ask of us. Good work with stepping outside your box!

  8. Alysha Beck says:

    I agree that journalists have to bring many different skill sets to a job these days. And I’ve found that there are great opportunities to learn new skills at work. For example, I have always used Final Cut 7 to edit my video projects, but the industry is changing and using Final Cut 10 now, which is quite different and frustrating to use at times. Luckily, I have been able to pick the brains of the video experts at my internship and learned to use the new software. All I had to do was express interest in learning and people were willing to help. It’s great that you’re willing to learn and pick up new skills too!

  9. asharonson says:

    Great post, Melany! You’re right, we are in the position where we are terrified to make mistakes, but encouraged to branch out. It can be hard (and stressful) to do so when you are so worried about having an error… in anything. One thing that really suck with me the after the Edelman agency tour was,”If our interns are not making mistakes, they are not branching out and pushing themselves.”

  10. Awesome post, Melany! Something that has always really resonated with me is that if you’re comfortable- you’re not growing. The only growth in this life comes from discomfort and that’s when we learn and grow the most. We’re in positions where we’re encouraged to ask questions, but if we ask too many questions it ends up hurting us in the long run because at a certain point we’re expected to self-direct our work and know what we’re doing. It sounds like you’re doing a great job at your internship, good luck!

  11. I think it is great that during your internship you have the opportunity to develop your multimedia skills. I know I wish my skills in that arena were a little sharper some days. There are so many different programs to learn that you’re absolutely right that you’ll be more attractive to employers with these new skills. Like they said when we visited Edelman that they are looking for great writers, but someone with design skills is golden to them. It’s great that these internships broaden our outlook on what tricks we need in our bag to work in the real world. In class, writing is heavily emphasized (as it should be) but once you’re in the office knowing multimedia programs is also vital. Better to learn that now than later.

  12. jamesynwa says:

    Kelsey made a great point by mentioning our trip to Edelman. In public relations, there’s such a huge focus on writing skills that we sometimes don’t appreciate the actual value of storytelling. Since some stories are just better suited for video or audio, you’ll do well to diversify your knowledge of several media platforms. Your broad skill set will make you a valuable asset to any organization in the future. Keep up the good work!

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