Collaboration happens between desks as USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism students huddle in the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center.
USC Annenberg / Brett Van Ort

PRSSA: Fred Cook’s Tips for PR Students

The PRSSA board publishes a weekly journal about the public relations industry, job market and events on campus. Articles are written by the PRSSA board, PR students and Annenberg alumni.

By Alexa Youssefian

One of the perks of being an Annenberg public relations student is our constant exposure to the industry’s most knowledgeable experts. Last month, Professor Jennifer Floto invited industry leader and Golin CEO Fred Cook to our JOUR 450 capstone class for a crash-course in career navigation and PR professionalism. Our class walked away with a sharpened perspective of the industry and our place in it.

Here are the 5 pro tips Fred Cook offered to young PR professionals:

1. Become a specialist, not a generalist

  • Cook emphasized the importance of becoming an expert in practice rather than a generalist. Whether in data analysis or social media proficiency, Cook deemed it valuable to collect distinct and focused expertise in the PR industry.

2. Don’t take no for an answer (too easily)

  • It’s not always easy to push for what you want, but an assertive approach is necessary for every professional, especially for PR practitioners.

3. Get global

  • Cook affirmed, “every client is global.” He encouraged students to gather a global perspective in order to more knowledgeably interact with the work we produce. Cook said that experience is a “creative reservoir,” and when you collect enough exposure, you invest in a long-term creative tool chest.

4. Find your personal value proposition

  • It’s important to know your personal edge and showcase your unique skills. Cook said, “find out what your special skills are. Unique skills help differentiate you. Do something nobody else can do. Know an industry, a category, a skill, a platform and know your niche very well.”

5. Live outside the box

  • Courageous ideas breed creative success. It’s important to have big ideas, but it’s often more important to courageously pursue their application, even when nobody else sees your vision.