How to Work in Public Relations

Those working within the field of public relations are the communication link between the company or organization that they represent and the general public. Public relations specialists are involved in media relations and are responsible for arranging and holding press conferences to provide information about their clients. Tasks include serving as advocates, providing advice, and managing organizational functions. Public relations specialists develop and maintain relationships with those in broadcast and print media including newspapers and magazines, radio and television in presenting information to the general public. The field of public relations is a very competitive industry and the best prospects will go to those individuals having a combination of experience in addition to a college degree. Here are some helpful tips on how to work in public relations.


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    Assess your aptitudes and abilities in contemplating a possible career in public relations. You must have initiative, be creative, be outgoing and have a high level of self-confidence. Additional skills include having solid presentation skills and being an excellent speaker, as the primary aspect of your job is contact with the public, the media and the press.
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    Understand that the work schedule of a public relations specialist will usually include overtime in addition to working late nights and weekends. The nature of the work often entails travel and an occasional around-the-clock schedule to meet deadlines. Working in public relations is often stressful.
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    Recognize that the best preparation for a position in public relations starts with a college degree having a concentration that includes public relations principles and techniques as the primary focus. Supplemental coursework should include communications, journalism, research and writing in addition to advertising, business administration and political science.
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    Realize that many individuals start their careers in the field of public relations following the completion of an internship, especially while in college. Explore this possibility by contacting several organizations to learn if they provide training programs for college students.
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    Consider becoming a member of 1 or more professional associations for public relations specialists while you are in college working on your degree. A key advantage is being able to network with others and having access to industry publications and resources.
    • Many colleges and universities offer students the option of joining student associations that are specifically designed for those currently enrolled in a public relations degree program. Examples include the Public Relations Student Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators.
    • Membership within local chapters of student associations will provide you with the opportunity to make contacts with public relations specialists already working within the field. Networking can lead to a job offer from public relations firms that are actively recruiting.
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    Develop a portfolio while you are in college that includes samples of your writing such as published articles in addition to slide presentations. If you have worked in other forms of media such as television or radio, include this as well within your portfolio.
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    Update your resume and gather references as you prepare for your job search for a position in public relations. Browse for open positions through industry newsletters and associations, online job boards and by attending job fairs. Attending industry conferences is an excellent way to meet fellow professionals and to explore possible openings for work in public relations.
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    Realize that a large portion of public relations jobs are located within urban areas that are more likely to have press services, television and radio broadcast stations and print media headquarters for newspapers and magazines. Positions can be found in not only public relations firms but also at advertising agencies, government offices, educational institutions and health care organizations. Consider relocating to an urban area to work in public relations.

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