Build a Career You Love: A Guide for the PR ProfessionalEach year on the anniversary of my joining the Spin Sucks team I write a blog post to celebrate another year of learning, growing as a PR professional, being part of an organization I believe in and adore, and most of all… working with an amazing leader, team, and community.

Considering October 28th marked my FIFTH year with Spin Sucks, this year definitely couldn’t be an exception.

Traditionally your five year anniversary is your “wood” anniversary.

So I encourage you all to plant a tree in my honor.

Or even admire a pretty stick today for me.

Thank you.

In exchange, I want to use my last five years to speak to ways a PR professional can build a career they adore.

A Job You Can Learn and Grow With

Last year’s anniversary post spoke to the benefit of on-to-job PR training and the top four areas where my work with Spin Sucks pushed me to learn, grow, stretch, and become a better professional.

After all, I’m not only a Spin Sucks team member, I’m also a student.

And so is every employee who works here.

Learning is part of our values and we make it a part of everything we do.

I can’t imagine a job where I felt stagnant.

Where I felt my growth and learning were stunted and I wasn’t pushed to CONSTANTLY learn new things and acquire new skills in order to do my job well.

In fact, when we speak with potential clients interested in working with us to help them grow their PR businesses and careers, the words “stagnancy,” “stuck,” “hampster on a wheel,” are used so often it hurts.

But here, learning is an integral part of successful work. It’s not siloed as it is in many organizations.

This is “professional development.”

This is the “work you need to do to be successful at your job.”

Instead, the nature of our careers demands we constantly learn more TO be successful at our jobs.

And any communications professional honest with themselves would agree that the nature of our dynamic, ever-changing industry requires the same.

We must learn to be successful. It’s not an either/or. A nice to have. It’s a requirement.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get stuck in the daily demands. The task-based stressors. The hectic pace and settle into patterns which reject the need to learn.

It’s easy to have success and become content with the process that brings that success in the HERE. Completely ignoring the THERE.

And that’s when we fail. Both professionally and in our sense of enjoyment of our roles.

So step one for any PR professional to build a career they love: make learning a part of your DNA.

(P.S. Be sure to check out last year’s post, I have a ton of great resources for PR professionals looking to improve their writing, PR measurement skills, and leadership techniques.)

The Career You Want is Waiting for You to Claim It

Want to know how to create the career you want?

Create the career you want.

Honesty, that’s it.

Have you ever thought about your dream job or career and then sighed to yourself… “ugh, if only…”

But the reality is there are no “if onlys…” You have complete control to create the career you want. You just need to decide what you want to.

Goals are funny things. We choose them and our decisions and actions in the short and long term determine if we achieve them.

It’s not easy. It might take longer than we want. Or it may not follow the path we wanted to get there, but we do have control if we make the decision to follow those goals.

Listen, I get it. Being an adult can be exhausting.

We have so many demands on our time, energy, and mental space. And sometimes, it’s so tempting to give ourselves a break and blame external forces on our inability to reach our goals or build the career we want.

In the end, our mindset is our only obstacle.

So, step two to build the career you want as a PR professional: Set your goals and pursue them, relentlessly.

Need some motivation around this? Check out these posts:

How to Change Your Mindset to Reach Your Goals

How a Growth Mindset Expels Failure—and the Fear of It

Make Respect Your Middle Name

After my two year anniversary, I wrote about the importance of employee satisfaction.

But really, while people try to put a lot of bells and whistles on what creates “satisfied” employees, I believe it comes down to two elements: respect and trust.

One of the things I value most about working here is the level of respect and trust provided across all levels. It not only creates a more fulfilling work environment, but it makes us all better.

If we have someone that disrespects those fundamental values, that don’t stay long. This keeps them sacred.

Step three to build a career you love is to never sacrifice, downplay, or ignore your need and right for respect and trust in your career.

If someone makes it clear that they won’t consistently provide you these things then walk away. You can do better.

Your Advice for a PR Professional?

While there are so many more factors which help me wake up every day excited to go to work, those are my top three.

Now it’s your turn. What do you feel are the most important factors needed for a PR professional to build a career they love?

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino