If you have ever wanted to know more about different types of public relations careers straight from professionals, then the PRSA Sections Series is here to help. The PRSA Sections Series highlights the 14 different PRSA Professional Interest Sections. Each month, professionals will answer questions about their specific subcategory of the industry.
Our eighth post in this series was written by Sam Sims, APR, (bio below) the 2015 Chairman for PRSA’s Technology Section.
1. What kind of work do professionals in your section typically do?
We facilitate the communication between our organizations and our target audiences. The unique side to this section is that we often have to communicate complex and sophisticated technical messages among audiences who are seeking information in a compact, easy-to-understand manner.
2. What can students expect when pursuing an entry-level position in the industry?
Students can expect a fast-paced environment with very subtle nuances in messaging. Semantics can mean the success of a communications campaign or its failure before it even starts. Students can also anticipate creating unique strategies using traditional and new media to assist in communication among their target audiences.
3. What advice do you have for students looking to enter your sector of public relations?
Know your industry and technology inside and out; never stop learning about it. Having a frame-of-reference foundation brings success to communications planning and implementation. Also, seek and rely on mentors. Not just one mentor, but several. Pass along the information learned to others as much as possible.
4. What essential skills do students need to do well in the industry?
The most essential skill that has proven well for me is the ability to understand communications theory and modeling. This has helped pinpoint specific messaging that achieves the goals of a communications plan and the business objectives of the organization. Another skill one might need is the willingness to dive into technology – and no, I’m not solely speaking of social media. Diving into technology and incorporating it within their lives helps give a tech public relations professional a better understanding of the communication cycle among the audiences.
5. What has surprised you most throughout the course of your career?
What’s surprised me the most is when people don’t have a rounded understanding of the various aspect of business in general. I’ve found it fascinating to remain a student of business, learning about accounting, operations, legal, human resources, information technologies, development, etc. Understanding the role of these aspects has helped me be the counselor and strategist and not just a tactician.
Sam Sims, APR, has been part of the US Fleet Tracking family since 2009 and joined full time as the director of public relations and marketing in 2010 after serving as the account director within a national public relations agency. Sims lengthy career in public relations and marketing has been honed through architectural, engineering, energy, medical, science, technology and arts industries where he has realized successes in communication planning, development, media relations and crisis situations. He is heavily involved in the public relations industry and is the 2015 Chairman for PRSA’s Technology Section. Sam has also been elected to the 2016 PRSA Board of Directors. He is a Past President of the Oklahoma City Chapter of PRSA, and continues his local leadership capacity by serving as assembly delegate and as the website chairman. Follow him on Twitter @samsims.