Public relations professionals spend the majority of their time planning, implementing, and evaluating promotional campaigns on behalf of their clients or companies. Public relations jobs typically include one or more of the following: writing, media relations, graphic design, public speaking, event planning, and other similar tasks. Depending on the type of organization with which you are employed, your job may involve any or all of these responsibilities, as well as other duties.
Skills Needed for a Public Relations Career
In order to be considered for a position in public relations, you will need to have strong communication skills. Successful public relations practitioners must be able to be able to write and speak clearly. PR practitioners communicate with their clients, employers, coworkers, the general public, and media representatives on an ongoing basis. Nearly every PR job requires, at a minimum, writing press releases and pitching stories to journalists via email, by telephone, and/or in person.
Many public relations jobs require making guest appearances on television programs, being interviewed on radio shows, and giving speeches or making presentations to groups of all sizes. Others require writing in-depth documents such as speeches, brochures, training manuals, and other publications. Additionally, PR practitioners are often responsible for coaching company executives and clients regarding how to speak to reporters and other media representatives.
In addition to strong communication skills, public relations professionals need to have excellent organizational skills, particularly if their job duties encompass media relations and event planning. PR professionals can be responsible for handling pre-planning, logistics, setup, and promotions for news conferences, grand openings, new product launches, and many other types of events.
Training for a Career In Public Relations
A degree specific to the public relations field is not necessary for a career in public relations, but it can certainly be beneficial. Most companies do require Bachelor’s degrees or a significant amount of related work experience for even entry-level PR positions. Many people choose to move into Public Relations from careers in journalism, publishing, sales and other types of occupations that require strong writing skills.
Many people who are successful in public relations have completed formal education in fields such as: Advertising, Communication Arts, Creative Writing, English, Journalism, Marketing, Mass Communication, Psychology, Public Relations, and similar fields. Regardless of your major, if you college has a student chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) professional organization, it is a good idea to get involved.
A college student who wants to pursue a career in PR will be well-served by completing an internship with a public relations company or in corporate communication in order to get hands-on experience in the field. A combination of classroom training, hands-on internship experience, and recommendations from professionals in the field are very beneficial to anyone seeking employment in the public relations field.