Underwear. Yes, I said it; underwear.
We’ve all be there, at some clothes store, in some shopping outlet, buying this needed item. We get so excited to go home and try on our new prize, but then… we discover that something doesn’t quite fit. Do you remember the uncomfortable feeling for the next few days?
So, what did we do? We went out and scoured the malls for our perfect fit of unique undies.
Public relations can sometimes feel like this. Students are constantly looking for that right fit for them. They try PR in many different fields. Could it be that the culture or location is the missing bead in their bracelet?
Right now, Latin America is ranked as one of the most optimistic places to work in public relations; even over the United States.
Here are some things to consider for students thinking about a career in Latin America, or as the natives say it, LATAM.
The world is a pretty cool place. One of the best things about traveling is getting to know the people and the culture. Not many people that I know (and I know a lot of people) come back from Latin America without loving it.
Besides, what is there not to love about LATAM? If we asked any college student, most or probably all of them could tell us where the nearest taco truck is located. And the nearest salsa dancing club. And where to find the best Latin music in town.
But how do those little nuances help us do PR in LATAM?
“Here in Latin America, we make connections over food,” said Cesar Zapata, a PR student at the University of San Martin de Porres in Peru. “If you know how to eat and learn about the culture, then you will do very well in PR here.”
So, all we have to do is eat lunch in LATAM and we can succeed in PR? Sounds like a great fit for most students. But although the food is a big part of it, there are also more things to think about before moving down to LATAM.
What about the students that want to become CCO’s or CEO’s or even start their own firms? Well, LATAM has much to offer there as well.
“Latin America needs good leaders in public relations,” said Zapata. “If people come from the United States to work here, they will become great leaders.”
Cesar went on to note that public relations in Latin America is growing slowly, but it is growing steadily. He thinks that within 15 to 20 years the industry will be flourishing with huge success.
So, especially for the students that are looking to be communications leaders, there could almost be no quicker route than to start in LATAM.
Okay, okay, but how do we know if our skills sets match up with Latin America? Well, let’s just ask the LATAM pros what they think about it.
For example, Layla Poveda, the Central American managing director for Ketchum, said that the top three skills she looks for in new hires are:
- critical thinking
- good ethics
- writing skills
Doesn’t sound too different from the U.S., right?
Although most LATAM managers shared similar lists, some had a slightly different take on the skill sets that students will need.
“When we hire someone we look for a background in communications or a college degree in communications or PR,” said Marta Sigaran, coordinating director for Ketchum in El Salvador. “We also look for bilinguals, dynamics, media specialists, and verbal and written skills.”
So, as you try to find the right fit in PR, don’t rule out the options of working in a foreign country just yet. Besides, the LATAM PR train has already left the station in this industry. For those that are willing to try, better jump on quick, because that engine isn’t stopping.
Hudson McKay is a student at Brigham Young University and currently serves on the PRSSA board as vice president of member services. When he’s not writing online marketing campaigns or blog posts, you can find him climbing up mountains, being with friends, and crunching on as much flavored ice that he can get his hands on.