Careers in public relations have greatly expanded over the years. As businesses expand, so does their need to have strong relationships with their customers and the public. “The public relations counsel is employed to find out what the public is demanding; what its likes and dislikes are; how business policies and practices affect profits, personnel, clients, government, and labor” (Ewing 230). Russell H. Ewing’s definition of what a public relations specialist does is spot on. Because the responsibilities of a public relations specialist have increased, the opportunities have as well.
Dave Roos breaks the field down into three categories: Publicity, Communications, and Training. Publicists are responsible for controlling all press releases, trade shows, and news stories. They also handle the day to day maintenance of web based publications, including social media. Communications somewhat overlaps with this category, in that all categories of PR will obviously include some type of publicity. Roos states that “PR communications is also about managing the client’s image as a whole, combining skills in media relations, marketing and even psychology”.This includes crisis communications as well. The final category, training, involves coaching executives and spokespeople for speaking to the public.
The average public relations specialist earned an average salary of $51,960 in 2009, and there were about 275,000 jobs for public relations specialists in 2008 (McKay). This amount is bound to increase over the next few years. In order to obtain one of these positions, educational requirements usually include a four year degree in journalism, marketing, communications, or advertising. Experience is usually gained through internships. Entry level positions usually include the responsibilities of organizing and maintaining documents. A typical entry level position would be an account executive. After advancing, many public relations careers incorporate writing speeches, campaigns, and organizing press releases. McKay states that there are more people looking for entry level positions than are available. Those with the degrees listed above, as well as internship experience, are more likely to succeed in finding a full time position after graduation.
I personally do not see myself working in public relations, but rather in advertising. Public relations seems to be all about keeping things kosher, without a frequency of developing new and creative ideas. The other day I sat down to explore some of the options I will have when I finish college. I came up with a few goals that I have in my career. First, when I graduate, I hope to get an internship or a full time position as a junior art director with an advertising agency. Within a couple years, I would like to be promoted to art director. After eight to ten years in the field, I see myself becoming a creative director at a successful agency. I’m sure the exact positions I want will change a few more times before I graduate, as I still have a lot to learn about the Ad and PR field. When I graduate, I feel I will be prepared to enter the job market with a competitive edge.
A Study in Public Relations. by Harold P. Levy; Careers in Public Relations: The New Profession by Averell Broughton. Review by: Russell H. Ewing. Social Forces, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Dec., 1943), pp. 228-230.
Roos, D. (n.d.). How Public Relations Works. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://money.howstuffworks.com/business-communications/how-public-relations-works6.htm
McKay, D. R. (n.d.). Public Relations Specialist: Career Information. About.com Career Planning. Retrieved April 8, 2014, fromhttp://careerplanning.about.com/cs/occupations/p/public_relation.htm