Is a Public Relations Career for You?Publish Date: Oct 20, 2009
Are you considering a career in public relations? You might be an excellent candidate if you are:
- an excellent communicator
- confident, assertive, and professional
- able to read people well
- able to think quickly on your feet
These traits are essential for a successful public relations (PR) career.
Companies of all types need good PR staff. Institutions and organizations such as universities and schools, large corporations, government agencies, hospitals...
The primary role of a PR professional is to develop and promote a great image of your client or employer without it being obvious that that's what you're doing. You provide information to the public, often via the media, regarding such things as your client's policies, goals, important events, changes, or other pertinent issues or situations. It's your job to make sure your client's public persona is as positive as possible.
There are many great opportunities in the public relations field. Various levels of positions include PR specialists, PR managers, and PR directors. PR specialists are also often referred to as media or communications specialists. Companies of all types need good PR staff. Institutions and organizations such as universities and schools, large corporations, government agencies, hospitals and medical centers, banks, media companies, celebrities, politicians, and advertising agencies almost always have PR professionals to represent them.
The Nature of the Job
You may be wondering just what kind of work a PR professional actually does. One of the great things about a career in public relations is that there is usually significant variety in the actual work involved.
As the name implies, a major part of your work in public relations does involve working closely with the media. This may include fielding calls from reporters or others interested in current information about your client such as television producers, various representatives in the community, bloggers and journalists. You will also typically be the person making the calls to the media, creating and delivering press releases and interviews when needed. If there is negative press regarding your client, you will be the person addressing that in order to bolster your client's image and minimize damage.
PR specialists often serve as a sort of liaison between their client and everyone else. This includes customers, the media, government entities, interest groups, and the community in general. Because of this, as a PR professional it is essential that you understand the issues and mindset of those groups and individuals with whom you interact on behalf of your client. Your client or employer will often consult with you to determine the best ways to enhance communication and develop or foster the best possible relationships with them.
As a PR specialist you may coordinate and set up various events such as speaking engagements, conventions, fundraisers, videos, and conferences. You may write the speech for someone within your company. You also may be the person who represents your client at various events, such as a charity event or community project.
If your company is launching a new product, you may be the person who announces it to the public. PR specialists also often give talks at schools or meetings at other companies. You may write proposals for various projects, and take care of annual reports. As you can see, the role of a PR professional often requires that you wear many different hats!
Requirements and Salaries
To get a PR job typically requires at least a bachelor's degree. As mentioned above, excellent communication skills are a must. Also, a background or some training in marketing or journalism can be very helpful. Public relations degrees are available at some colleges and universities.
While salaries for PR professionals can vary greatly, salaries for PR specialists often range from around $43,000 to $52,000. Entry-level positions may start at a lower salary. For PR managers, salaries often range from $71,000 to $98,000; and for PR directors, salaries can range from $108,000 to $154,000 or more.
PR Job Outlook
The job outlook is very good for this field. More and more companies are recognizing the need for good public relations. With the Internet becoming a primary media form, many companies are hiring skilled PR staff to handle their online presence and relationships. Also, some PR professionals are self-employed and work as contracted consultants to their clients.
As you can see, there are many opportunities in the public relations field. This can be a very enjoyable and well-paying profession. Also, you may get to enjoy some great perks. Attending a variety of fun and interesting events, going to parties, dinners, and sporting events are often part of the PR job! Consider a job in public relations today if this sounds like a good fit for you.