Today, applicants have a choice before them – who should they be? Where should they go to study? These are the questions which will likely have a decisive effect on the rest of their lives. The labor market is in great need of public relations specialists. For that reason, we wanted to talk about the profession which leads to work in this area. The PR specialist’s profession is multifunctional and this trend will strengthen in the near future. We spoke with head of the Ingrafikon Think Tank in Yekaterinburg Kseniya Saharuk about our questions on the work of a PR specialist.
Experience in the PR, advertising, and marketing field – more than 10 years. Winner of the White Wing Ural prize for achievements in public relations. Has been leading the Ingrafikon Think Tank, which offers a wide range of services in digital marketing for developers since 2015.
Earlier she was director of advertising and PR for the Weda Fashion Group, head of the department of marketing and advertising of the Yekaterinburg Center of International Sales, head of the PR department of Atomstroykompleks, press secretary for Chelyabinskoye Aviapredpriyatiye OAO.
– How long have you worked in communications?
– If you are looking at my formal professional experience, then 10 years. My first job was tied to my main specialty, but then the labor market started to change dramatically. Like everyone I had to learn new things, combining the practices of several areas in my work – marketing, advertising, and journalism. As a result, this all led me to work tied to sales and management of commercial processes.
– Why did you choose the Public Relations academic program for your specialty?
– I always wanted to enroll in the Faculty of Journalism, but it turned out that tying my future professional work exclusively to journalism was a dubious idea for economic reasons. Public relations had new and interesting opportunities in which journalism was combined with modern business processes and western practices. The irony is that during my education this specialty moved from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities to the Faculty of Journalism, and in my red degree book “Faculty of Journalism” is written.
– What attracts you most of all to the PR specialty?
– Its unbelievable flexibility and ability to adapt to everything new that happens in the social and business spheres. Not too long ago, Herman Gref said at a meeting:
“2015 was the time when a qualitative shift occurred from the informational age to the digital age; when digital technologies moved into manufacturing use, they became available to every company.”
In other words, simple and quick transfer of colossal volumes of data in all forms became our new reality. In it, the simple and powerful Internet of Things, social media, communicators, and messengers. It’s not surprising that the profession of a PR specialist soaked up all the technological trends and flowed into a whole range of mixed specialties which, none the less, have a common base of knowledge and skills. SMM management, content management, digital marketing, email-marketing, SEO promotion and many other variations are on the crossroads of PR, journalism, and marketing.
– Is this profession difficult? Is the knowledge you received in university sufficient?
– University education in any sphere is just a system, a skeleton, on which you begin to add new skills and knowledge, master practices, develop your own professional skills. In your alma mater, no one is ever going to give you instant leadership, but you will have a relatively strong understanding of the principles, laws, and basic things in your future profession. Public relations, journalism, advertising, and marketing, really, are one unified communications field. And if you are planning to become an effective player on this field, for a start you must pick one “entry point”. Further, everything depends on your desires, hard work, and ambition. I want to use this chance to give my sincere thanks to Elena Ponomareva. There are few who could imagine that during our education, History of International Literature and Art (HILA) would be the class that we would refer back to in practice frequently. Thankfully, western and Russian culture over the last few years have become a fashionable trend, so, dear students, read the classics, create conceptual art parties, and save your notes from HILA – they will have the system that will help you figure out all the varied cultural phenomenon.
– What qualities does a person who chooses this profession need to have?
– There are three main ones. An ability to always be learning, and do this independently; a personal charm, which can be developed in everyone; and unbelievable tolerance to stress. If you work in manufacturing, you know that your machines complete Y actions over X hours and you receive the calculated result. If you work in communications, the result is difficult to predict. You need to learn how to react to everything calmly and always have a plan A, B, and C.
– Is there something you want to let people who are choosing this profession know about in advance?
– Be open and flexible. Don’t get stuck, professionally, in the same mechanics and practices – move towards new experiences. The PR sphere is crazy dynamics and up-to-date answers to any changes in social life and, as we see, the rapid development of IT technologies makes these changes faster every day.
– Tell us about the most interesting PR project you have participated in.
– I have never had uninteresting projects, but I can tell you about my most emotional experience. When I worked at Chelyabinsk Aviapredpriyatiye, my colleagues and I created a whole series of events dedicated to the 90th anniversary of civil aviation. As you might imagine, to find worthwhile conceptual solutions we had to get a strong background. We had to study a huge amount of materials, archives, had meetings with veterans of this field, learned their personal stories and the stories of their professional collectives, saw photo chronicles… a whole heap of human fates and fortunes tied to the skies in both civil and military fields. This really enraptured me, partially because the history of my family is also tied to aviation. This was amazing work. Thanks to, first of all, the colleagues and coworkers at the airport, people who are unbelievably dedicated to their work. The archives of the airport, by the way, have a huge number of interesting materials. There are enough to make a book. But, unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer people who participated in the events of those years who could make such a book truly alive and fill them with their stories.
– What would you like to wish for future PR specialists on the days before their professional holiday?
– Interesting projects, new areas of personal development, ambition and belief in your personal capabilities, since “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” (Daniel Boorstin, American historian).