Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
July 19, 2010

Myth or Reality?: “Agency Experience Preferred”

At the PRSA 2010 International Conference, the New Professionals Section will sponsor a panel discussion titled Myth or Reality?: “Agency Experience Preferred.” During this workshop, senior practitioners will discuss what employers are really asking for when they require agency experience. As the New Professionals Section chair-elect and panel moderator, I asked each of our presenters: Why do you think there is a perception in the PR industry that agency experience is best?

Heather R. Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended, has nearly 10 years’ experience in public relations, and worked at both big and small agencies and in in-house environments.

“If you’re considering a career in PR, most universities push you toward gaining agency experience — so the perception starts early. They also instill the idea that you can’t go from non-agency to agency later in your career, which is just ridiculous.” — Heather R. Huhman

Lara Kretler, vice president and social media lead at Fahlgren Mortine, is passionate about public relations and strategic use of the social Web. A career PR pro with agency and corporate experience spanning 19 years and two states, Lara enjoys being an enthusiastic colleague, coach and mentor to young professionals.

“One of the best things about agency experience is that it develops well-rounded, diverse, seasoned PR professionals able to handle any challenge that comes their way. Many desirable job postings state ‘agency experience required’ for this very reason. That said, even without agency experience it is possible to demonstrate a wide range of skills and knowledge in order to convince hiring managers that you’d be a perfect fit for the job of your dreams. At this session, we’ll share our insights into how to do just that.” — Lara Kretler

Sarah Siewert is early in her career, currently transitioning from the nonprofit sector to a position with KemperLesnik, a public relations, events and sports marketing firm. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn and on Twitter @siewert.

Join Sarah along with other members of the PRSA New Professionals Section at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, October 16–19 in Washington, D.C.!

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