How to Restart Your Career in Public Relations After Time Away

Jul 07, 2021

When you’ve taken a break in PR for any reason and you’re ready to restart your career, you’re probably so incredibly excited! But as much excitement as a change like this brings, it’s also really uncertain, uncomfortable, and nerve-wracking. There’s so much fear surrounding stepping back into a field you once loved. 

If you’re ready to dive back in and restart your career in public relations, you need a game plan! So, how do you actually get back into PR successfully (and stress-free)? 

7 Tips to Successfully Restart Your Career In PR

No matter what made you take a break from your PR career—or how long that break was—it’s absolutely possible to jump back into it successfully. 

You have valuable expertise, skills, and experience, so don’t forget to know your own worth! But it’s perfectly normal to be worried about making a shift back into public relations. After all, the PR landscape is constantly changing… these tips will help you navigate the waters and restart your career with less stress. 

1. Leverage Your Previous Experience and Expertise

If you want to restart your career in PR, the number one thing that you should do is leverage your previous expertise and experience. When you take a break from something, there’s a serious mindset challenge where you feel like you’re starting over. 

But you’re not starting from scratch or starting over. 

Thinking that way actually does a disservice to both you and your past experience. You shouldn’t discount the experience you’ve cultivated just because there’s a gap in the time you’ve spent doing it. 

Of course, the PR landscape has likely changed in some key ways. But the skills you had before, like storytelling, positioning your clients, and keeping things timely and relevant, are all still within you! The core of what makes a great PR pro is still part of who you are, and you can leverage those foundational skills as you restart your career. 

2. Sharpen and Hone Your Skills

Although you have skills and expertise from your past in PR, honing your skills is never a bad idea! Mastering the art of pitching is really what makes someone successful in public relations. 

The Pitch Lab is an incredible place to hone your pitching skills. Inside The Pitch Lab, you’ll master the art of timeliness and relevance, and gain access to relevant, current media contacts. Even better, you’ll receive monthly execution plans that save you so much time and help you stay relevant. 

Basically, The Pitch Lab is built around teaching you how to do PR step-by-step and build a strategy….and then has these amazing execution plans and media contacts on top of it. 

Since pitching really is a core PR skill, it’s so important. But when you aren’t actively using your pitching skills, they can lose their luster. The Pitch Lab is an easy, incredible way to polish up your skills—and investing in re-educating yourself to earn the best results for your clients is never a bad idea.

Plus, when you hone your skills and build them back up, you’ll feel way more confident when pitching your services to prospective clients. So much of the challenge in restarting your career is your mindset and confidence. 

When you know with absolute certainty that your skills are top-notch, you’ll feel so much more confident! 

3. Choose A Specific Niche

Niching down will help you restart your career in PR. 

You don’t want to come back into PR as a generalist. You’d have to learn so many different things and figure out so many new contacts! Instead, niche down for the best results and most seamless transition. 

If you’re struggling with choosing a niche, think about the work that you did before that you really loved: 

  • What niche was it in?
  • Where did you generate the most results? 
  • What sparked the most passion for you? 

It’s so much easier to jump back into PR when you have a more focused path. 

4. Understand Trends & Reacquaint Yourself With The Current Landscape Of PR

Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to get back on top of trends and reacquaint yourself with the current landscape of PR, including the difference between earned media and paid media. 

PR used to only focus on earned media, but now there's a lot of crossover with paid media and owned media like blogs, social media, and influencer collaborations. 

We talk about this type of shifting PR landscape all the time in The Pitch Lab so that you’re always aware of what’s going on in PR. 

Another huge shift that’s happening is the need for affiliate revenue opportunities. Basically, you need to be aware that your role now as you restart your career may encompass more diverse types of work than before. 

If you’re worried about being fully acclimated to the new world of PR, find support! The Profitable PR Pros community is an excellent place to start. 

5. Focus On Networking

Now it’s time to start networking again. From updating your LinkedIn profile to creating a website, you need to build a presence online. Whether you were on social media before your break or not, that’s another key element to successfully restart your career in PR. 

Start forming valuable connections and building an online presence! This helps you attract your ideal clients. 

When you create a website, you can use something simple using Squarespace or Wix. But I also love and highly recommend Kajabi to send invoices, get paid, and create incredible onboarding processes. 

You should also consider joining a community of PR pros to get mentorship and support. The Profitable PR Pros community is incredible for this! Plus, you’ll be able to consistently educate yourself on what’s happening in PR. 

6. Get Your First Paying Client

If you’re looking to restart your career quickly, look for freelance work that you could pick up. Freelancing isn’t the best solution long-term, but it’s super helpful for honing your skills, building relationships, and getting comfortable with PR again. This way, you’ll get your sea legs back and build confidence in yourself!

Freelance work also helps you build experience if you’re hoping to get a job and have that gap in your work experience. When you’re just getting re-started, you’ll want to look for easy-entry, low-barrier, or entry-level type roles. 

And if your freelance work does go well, you can always continue working with those clients and grow from there. 

The key to getting your first client as you restart your career is knowing how to sell yourself and answer any potential questions about your break from PR. Prospective clients won’t necessarily know that you took a break, but if they do ask about it, you should have your story ready to go. 

And don’t feel like you need to apologize for whatever you took a break for! Explain it clearly, but feel free to weave in how it’s helped you come back even more prepared to land amazing press features. 

7. Focus On Your Mindset and Be Confident In Yourself

When you’re ready to restart your career in PR, there’s so much to look forward to. But there’s also a LOT of fear surrounding stepping back into your career. 

Know that you have something unique to bring to the table. You have valuable skills, experience, and expertise—and a perspective that’s totally unique to you. 

Focusing on your mindset and building confidence is essential. 

Start by doing some self-reflection to figure out: 

  • What you truly want
  • What success looks like for you
  • The type of work-life balance you want
  • How your PR career will look now

Then, you can create a specific plan for making the shift from what you’re doing now to PR. Map out the exact steps you’ll take and how it’s feasible for you!

Everyone’s journey in PR is different, so don’t worry about taking a break and restarting. I left my career as a lawyer to start a PR agency with no contacts or experience, and I’ve grown a 7-figure agency and spent the last 16+ years doing something I absolutely love. YOU can do it, too!

If you need support, a community is so valuable. That’s why I really highly recommend joining The Profitable PR Pros community as a starting point. 

When you’re ready to restart your career in public relations, there’s so much to consider. These tips will help you seamlessly navigate this transition and start finding success in PR again!