Public Relations

Print Version

Area

Account Management

  • Sales
  • Development
  • Marketing

  • Administration
  • Event planning
  • Employee or member relations

  • Media relations
  • Customer service
  • Research

Employers

  • Public relations firms representing:
    • Private and public organizations, individuals, and events
  • PR departments in large corporations
  • Public opinion research firms
  • Advertising agencies

  • Radio and television companies
  • Sports and entertainment organizations
  • Hospitality and tourism industry
  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Government agencies
  • Labor unions
  • Consulting firms
  • Freelance

Strategies

  • Strengthen verbal communication skills by taking speech communication courses.
  • Enhance writing skills through additional coursework.
  • Learn to work well with teams.
  • Serve as public relations officer of an organization.
  • Get involved with related professional associations as a student member.
  • Acquire one or more public relations internships even if unpaid.
  • Be prepared to start at the bottom and work up to higher positions.
  • Consider a master’s degree in public relations for higher level positions, especially at the executive level.
  • Find a mentor in the field to guide your own career planning.
  • Be willing to move to locations with more job opportunities.

Area

Media

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Copywriting
  • Reporting

  • Broadcasting
  • Producing
  • Managing/Directing

  • Research
  • Media sales
  • Media planning

Employers

  • Publishing firms:
    • Newspapers, magazines, and books
  • Wire services and syndicates
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines

  • Literary agencies
  • Internet sites/online news providers
  • Television and radio stations
  • Film industry
  • Freelance

Strategies

  • Develop the ability to work under the pressure of deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Work for campus or local newspaper, radio station, or television station.
  • Complete internships in relevant settings.
  • Learn applications related to web page design, desk top publishing, and other relevant technology.
  • Obtain sales experience.
  • Get involved with national and campus professional associations.
  • Develop excellent interpersonal, presentation, and research skills.
  • Be willing to take any job you can to get a foot in the door with an organization of interest.
  • Develop a portfolio or audition tape depending on the industry.

Area

Business and Industry

  • Advertising sales
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer service

  • Management
  • Insurance underwriting and claims
  • Training and development

  • Human resources
  • Labor relations
  • Writing/Editing

Employers

  • Public and private corporations
  • Marketing companies
  • Internet marketers
  • Sport and athletic organizations

  • Retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Hospitals and other healthcare organizations

 

  • Financial companies
  • Insurance firms
  • Real estate companies
  • Print and electronic media
  • Other product and service providers
  • Consulting firms

Strategies

  • Earn a minor or double major in business.
  • Obtain sales and marketing experience through part-time or summer jobs.
  • Develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Complete internships in fields of interest to build the skills and experiences valuable to employers.
  • Hone computer skills and learn applications such as databases, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills and learn to work well on a team.
  • Get involved in student professional associations and other campus organizations.
  • Consider earning a graduate degree in business to increase opportunities for advancement.
  • Stay current with business and industry literature and news.
  • Become knowledgeable about corporate social responsibility.
  • Build a network of contacts.

Area

Government

  • Public affairs
  • Risk and crisis communication
  • Campaign marketing and fund raising
  • Campaign management
  • Media relations

  • Public information
  • City or town management
  • Programming
  • Research
  • Lobbying

  • Conflict negotiation
  • Program administration
  • Community affairs
  • General services
  • Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services

Employers

  • Federal government:
    • There are over 170 departments and agencies
  • State governments
  • Counties
  • Municipalities

  • Townships
  • School districts
  • Court system
  • Campaign committees

  • Special action committees
  • Elected officials
  • Political parties
  • Lobbying firms

Strategies

  • Take courses or minor in applicable interest area(s).
  • Develop strong research, writing, conflict management, and negotiation skills.
  • Work on student government or local political campaigns.
  • Join related campus organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Develop multi-cultural competence and learn to work well a variety of people.
  • There are a large number of specialized agencies within local, state, and federal government. Do extensive research to find the area that best fits your interests and goals.
  • Complete an internship with a government agency.
  • Maintain a strong GPA as many government programs are competitive.
  • Learn government job application processes. Seek assistance at your college career center.
  • Develop a network of contacts through referrals and informational interviews.
  • Consider earning a graduate degree in public policy/ affairs, public administration, or related areas.

Area

Nonprofit

  • Public relations
  • Promotion
  • Event planning
  • Service marketing
  • Administration

  • Community affairs
  • Fund raising/Development
  • Research
  • Program coordination

  • Grant writing
  • Writing/Editing
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Training

Employers

  • Local and national nonprofit organizations
  • Charities and foundations
    • within the areas of environment, arts, multicultural initiatives, religion, and health
  • Hospitals and healthcare providers

  • Educational institutions
  • Museums
  • Historical sites and societies
  • Libraries

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Professional associations
  • Special interest groups
  • Labor unions

Strategies

  • Gain experience through internships or volunteer positions with non-profit entities.
  • Get involved planning events or fund raising for campus or local organizations.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area, (e.g., public health, environment, urban issues). Consider a minor or specific courses to develop this expertise.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Develop a wide array of skills including writing, speaking, budgeting, grant writing, and leadership.
  • Consider earning a graduate degree in public administration or nonprofit management to position yourself for great opportunities.

Area

Social Media Management

  • Strategy
  • Content planning
  • Community management

  • Marketing and promotions
  • Blogging
  • Copy writing

  • Search engine marketing
  • Online customer service

Employers

  • Public relations firms
  • Marketing agencies
  • Advertising agencies

  • Social media management companies
  • Media outlets
  • Corporations in a variety of industries

  •  Web application companies
  • Freelance

Strategies

  • Get experience with social media platforms, (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter) and location- based social media sites, (e.g., Yelp and Gowalla).
  • Be adept at learning new technology and tools quickly.  Stay abreast of industry news.
  • Establish an online presence for yourself, and use it in your job search.
  • Complete an internship in social media.
  • Volunteer to maintain social media for campus organizations.
  • Develop skills important to this field including: communication, creativity, relationship building, and project management.
  • Take courses in marketing, journalism, copy writing, and technology.
  • Research an industry of interest to learn about its social media presence.
  • Learn how to effectively manage negative press.

Area

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Administration

  • Student Affairs
    • Student activities, leadership development, admissions, orientation, career services, residence life, multi-cultural Affairs, study abroad, international student services

  • Academic affairs
    • Academic support services
    • Advising, educational advancement programs
    • Honors programs
  • Library sciences

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Professional and graduate schools

  • Adult education programs
  • Vocational-technical educational programs

Strategies

  • Obtain a doctorate degree to teach at colleges and universities.
  • Earn a master’s degree in a specialized area (e.g., College Student Personnel, Higher Education Administration, or Library and Information Sciences) to work in other roles at post-secondary institutions.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations to prepare for graduate school.
  • Seek campus leadership positions such as peer mentor, orientation leader, or resident assistant.
  • Build strong interpersonal skills.

General Information

  • Develop excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. Creativity and good judgment are also critical skills in this field.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy for the field.
  • Obtain part-time, summer job, internship, or volunteer experience within an area of interest. Public relations is a competitive field and related experience is essential to break into the industry.
  • Explore specializations within major and field. Select electives or earn a minor to enhance knowledge in area(s) of interest.
  • Participate in co-curricular activities to develop skills such as public speaking, team work, leadership, event planning, and fund raising. Join professional
    associations related to public relations.
  • Make the most of public relations campaign classes to learn as much as possible and to generate items for a portfolio.
  • Be prepared to start at the bottom and work up to positions of greater responsibility. Expect to complete administrative tasks in entry-level jobs.
  • Develop and utilize a personal network of contacts. Once in a position, find an experienced mentor.
  • Obtain additional or advanced degrees to enhance knowledge of specific area of interests. For instance, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) will increase employability in government and non-profit agencies.