3 Timeless Skills PR Professionals Need for Career Success

Author Bio: Kerry O’Grady is the Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Practice for the Georgetown University Master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Communications. An award-winning integrated communicator, she is a sought-after media contributor on pop culture, social media, and wellness. She’s currently a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University, studying for her Ed.D. in leadership and learning in organizations.

As a public relations professional, I’m not a fan of articles that detail the latest “trends” in a profession.

By definition, trends are flighty; forgettable. They are a general direction of change, but not certain or absolute. The start of any new year should be about getting back to basics; redefining and developing the skills you know.

Here are my top three skills for evergreen career success:


Public relations is a writing-centric profession. As a PR professional, you’re the go-to expert on the written word. You’re not only an expert in how to craft messaging but also a master at disseminating it to key publics to change both hearts and minds.

Writing should be concise and simple, each word carefully selected with intention. The best news about writing well? Every day is an opportunity to improve.


It may seem obvious that research is an important component to any communications plan. Yet, jumping to tactical solutions without supporting evidence continues to run rampant. Making data-driven decisions means you’re looking at applicable research prior to developing solutions.

It also means analyzing data to draw insights. Data should be driving both client conversations and meaningful solutions. Data, by itself, isn’t valuable. It’s the stories that come from data that yield both relationships and revenue.


In my opinion, all PR professionals should take on the “inquisitor” role within a company. That voice of reason is usually the most detail-oriented person in the room, and strategic thinking and attention to detail are at the center of our profession. You need to keep asking “why” until you get to the root cause. Until you can’t ask why anymore.

Only then can you begin to solve the real problem. This process may seem tedious at first, but it pays off in the long run.

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