Though PR and advertising are very similar fields, advertisers create messages and PR professionals handle the response to those messages. Experience with advertising can help PR workers anticipate and better respond to advertisers’ messages. Once you’ve been on the other side of the interaction, you can better react to it. Essentially both industries aim to influence publics, so experience in either one will enhance your crucial persuasive skills.
Working in advertising will also force you to exercise creativity. Creativity is more blatantly essential in the advertising industry, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for PR as well. The difference is advertisers blatantly use creativity to compose fresh, innovative campaigns while PR professionals must be creative in forming strategies to deal with problems. Learning how to produce creative advertisements will transfer into better variety of strategy skills in PR.
Most importantly, PR and advertising are both communication based fields, and the more experience you gain the better a communicator you become. It’s true that the industries are very different, but there is enough overlap to make advertising experience extremely worthwhile to someone interested in working in PR. Showing valuable knowledge in two overlapping fields of communication will show that you are trained in a multitude of communication areas and have a well-rounded perspective to bring to the table.
Don’t blow off opportunities for experience or knowledge in advertising–just because Public Relations isn’t in the name doesn’t mean that the information and skills won’t be useful in the future.