IPG, NYWICI’s Harrison: Women Are Headed to the Top of the PR Industry

Recent Pew Research Center study results show that women believe a college education is vital to a thriving career in greater numbers than men (77 percent vs 68 percent). Moreover, at this point women outnumber men enrolled and graduating from colleges and universities in the U.S.

Judith Harrison thinks this could have big implications for women in PR. Harrison is the SVP of staffing and diversity inclusion in IPG’s Constituency Management Group and a former VP of student affairs at the New York Women in Communications Foundation. IPG’s CMG unit includes PR firms like Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris.

“The PR industry clearly has a huge pipeline of women,” said Harrison. “There’s only going to be more and more women coming up in the ranks of the business.”

Not only is education level having an impact on the rise of women in this industry. Harrison also credits the significance of social media.

“The industry has changed because of the influence of mommy bloggers, a whole group of women who are connected through social media, and the important group of stakeholders that women have become for every consumer-oriented company.”

So how can a young woman in college or one soon to graduate get started in this industry? Harrison suggests thinking carefully about the experience your getting from the outset. The PR industry is looking for people who are “passionate” about the work, which usually means making it a major in college, which gives would-be practitioners an understanding of PR work and the approach to it. Internships are also important for this reason.

And your LinkedIn page is crucial. Harrison called it “the most important social media tool for finding a job,” and said this profile needs to be updated with links to applicable Facebook and Twitter pages, your website, or other sites.

“People need to invite as many colleagues and friends into their circle, join groups” and keep an eye out for job postings on LinkedIn.

Finally, don’t forget in-person interaction. “You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not going to meetings and joining committees,” Harrison added, as well as taking part in other networking events.

What are your tips for a successful job hunt? Let us know in the comments.