This #PRPOILIVE conversation, featured PR professionals, who have had the good fortune to work across multiple markets, and started off with PR careers in India. We were fortunate to be joined by panellists - Deepa Thomas Sutcliffe, global communication leader, who has worked across verticals and geographies like the Middle East, Philippines, Malaysia and the UK; Louella D’Costa, a seasoned communication professional with more than two decades of International experience across various work streams of communications; Priyanki Ahluwalia, who started her career in Indian PR agencies and is now marketing communications lead (senior manager), Lebara in the UK.
I handpicked few of the brilliant nuggets of advice, by each of them.
Dream It, plan it: If you have aspirations for a global career, make the plan that goes with the dream. As Louella pointed out, “Don’t be afraid to ask the universe, your organisation or even your network for opportunities - that might get you one step closer to your dreams.” Deepa agrees, “If you are lucky enough to work in a multinational company, then try to opt for roles that allow you to be where you want to be, even if the role may not be completely your skill area.” Louella also advices looking out to work for organisations or brands that have an International footprint.
Network is Gold: Deepa suggests that one should use “networking” across the board. In her estimation, we all happen to have large networks as PR professionals that could come handy for pushing ourselves out there. Priyanki agrees, “I had my eyes set on the UK, so I kept looking out for people and opportunities that could help me learn and grow closer to my goals.”
Skill-up: As Priyanki points out, “A degree is important, but it’s not the only thing. The smart thing to do, is to look for a degree that helps you get internships in the geography that you wish to work in.” Focus on a skill based resume, or career presentation, and skill up for the job you want. Deepa shares that the current trend is more towards the skill based CV, as opposed to just garnering a degree. Louella shares that one important thing to do along the way is to upskill in newer fields of communication, from digital marketing to social media and analytics as well.
Know your markets: Deepa says, “Understand the culture of the land you intend to shift. While human beings are the same everywhere, work culture as well as communication tonality can be diverse.” She shares that there can be a national culture or a workplace culture, and it is imperative to understand both. Shares Priyanki, “I consciously opted for working in the UK, as I felt an affinity in terms of the work culture and most importantly the language there. Hence, I planned to study there and also worked on getting a degree in UK.”
Use your multi-dimensional skills: Try to spend time early in your PR career picking up as many skills as possible. Our panellists agree that PR is a multi- dimensional and multi-skilled role, which helps prepare you for many careers. Louella shares, “A global role allowed me to see things from a macro perspective. Asian markets may have a lot more similarities to India in terms of the pace of work, competitiveness etc.” Agrees, Priyanki, “The best aspect of public relations is the way it allows you to take on story-telling role and moves upwards with your interpersonal skills.” Avers, Deepa, “The best part of PR is that it allows you to have a holistic view of the organisation, as close as to the CEO or founder. As communicators, we understand the unified view of the brand better.”
In short, take a leap and plan your career with a vision as to where you would finally like to end up. The universe is always conspiring in your favour, so all you have to is truly ask.
The author is co-founder PRPOI.