A career in public relations can be ideal for anyone who has an interest in marketing, communications and advertising. It’s a career that combines creativity with business sense, and to work in PR, as it’s typically known, you’ll definitely need to be outgoing, enjoy working with people, and be comfortable talking to clients, often in a social setting. It’s also a well paid job, with the typical salary ranging from around $40,000 to $90,000 depending on job title and responsibilities. Of course, it’s also possible to earn a lot more than that if you have a senior position in a top agency.
Most of us have some idea of what a public relations company does; the job is all about building a positive relationship between a company and the public, and trying to present that company in as positive a way as possible. Most large companies in the US have a public relations department, or use the services of a private public relations company, and it isn’t just companies that need the service. Government and state run departments, hospitals, schools and just about any large organization understands the importance of good PR and the need to come across positively.
To work for a public relations company, you’ll almost always need to have a four year college degree, either in PR itself, or some related area, such as communications, marketing, business or journalism. Applying for a job in PR is no more easy or difficult than applying for other entry level jobs, although it can increase your chances of being hired if you have a portfolio of work, perhaps graphics, writing or design. Much of the day you’ll be sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer, although a large part of effective PR is about meeting with your clients, maintaining that all important personal communication and perhaps even attending social or business events with them.
A typical week in a public relations company might include writing press releases to promote a new product or service, or business decision by your client, planning a book signing, producing a newsletter, planning a photo opportunity, booking staff to appear at promotional events and brainstorming for creative ways to promote a new product or service. And of course, these days social media plays an important part in the role of most public relations companies; you should be comfortable using Facebook, Twitter and drafting and sending what are known in the industry as email blasts. In general, you’ll work regular office hours, although in PR you have to be prepared for the unexpected, a setback or a corporate crisis that needs taking care of. You may well be spending some evenings or weekends at corporate events, especially if you have a high up position in a PR company.
Working in a public relations company isn’t for everyone; it’s one of those businesses that have been described as cutthroat, and you definitely need to be a quick thinker, creative and confident, although the financial rewards can be substantial.
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