Public Relations Specialist

How to Become a Public Relations Specialist
Job Duties of a Public Relations Specialist
Skills and Qualities of a Public Relations Specialist
Public Relations Specialist Salary
Influential Professional Public Relations Specialists
Leading Public Relations Specialist Organizations
Top Cities for Public Relations Specialist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Public Relations Specialist

The field of public relations is varied in terms of what degree is needed to obtain a job. Most entry-level positions require a Bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, journalism, English, or advertising. However, sometimes a field is considered to be technical. Such industries include the healthcare and technology fields. These employers may require public relations employees to have a degree in the respective field or at the very least, to have experience.

Many universities will require that students participate in an internship program. If this is not a requirement, it is beneficial when looking for employment. Other things that may be beneficial when applying for jobs would be to join the Public Relations Student Society of America or the International Association of Business Communicators. Not only does this look good on one's resume, it provides opportunities for networking. When attending job interviews, it is imperative to have a portfolio of writing samples. Samples should include press releases, brochures, speeches, and articles for both print and web.

Accreditation is available through the Universal Accreditation Board. Those who are accredited must undergo an examination that includes a readiness review and an exam. Accreditation is available for those who have worked at least five years in a full-time position, has taught public relations, or has a Bachelor's degree in communications. Accreditation is not required for some jobs, but will prove beneficial for those who choose to do it.

What does a Public Relations Specialist do?

Much of a company's public "face" is the responsibility of the public relations department. One of the responsibilities of a public relations specialist is to promote the organization to the respective target audience. In addition to promoting the organization, the public relations specialist should also build a relationship with the targeted audience.

Specifically, public relations specialists will handle media, community, consumer, government, and industry events. These can include such things as fundraisers, trade shows, and legislative meetings. Of course, public relations specialists can also come to the rescue of an organization. This means that if an organization ends up in trouble it is the job of the public relations specialist to help the organization solve the problem as well as improve the damaged public image.

On a more daily basis, public relations specialists write press releases and promote these to the media. In addition to writing press releases, brochures, speeches, and articles may also be written.

Within the government, public relations specialists may also be known press secretaries, information officers, or public affairs specialists. The primary function of those in these roles is to keep the public informed of the activities of the respective government official.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Public Relations Specialist?

Public relations specialists that work in a public relations firm will find schedules are tight and work is stressful. Those who work for a company may find that schedules are a little less tight and not as stressful. This group of professionals usually will work 35-40 hours per week. Those who choose to work in a larger organization or a firm will usually work more than 40 hours per week and overtime is not usually reimbursed.

Public relations specialists must also be on call 24 hours day. Most of the time, this isn't a problem because most organizations will not have emergencies at odd hours however larger organizations, those who work in politics, or for a public relations firm will need to be prepared for anything. In addition to this, schedules may tend to be hectic depending on the organization as public relations specialists will be required to deliver speeches, travel, as well as attend various community and industry meetings.

Aside from the job demands, a public relations specialist should be creative, well-spoken, and be a good judge of situations. The ability to make confident decisions and research a variety of topics is also an important asset. Those who are outgoing, confident, understanding, and enthusiastic are usually a good fit for the field of public relations. Specialists should be competitive because that is the nature of the industry; however, teamwork is also essential to the job. Finally, public relations specialists must also have a "tough skin". There can be a lot of rejection or disappointment in the public relations fields and those pursuing a career in it should be able to handle it.

How much does a Public Relations Specialists make?

The average income of a public relations specialist in 2006 was $47,350. Those in the middle 50% were paid between $35,600 and $65,310. Only the top ten percent made more than $89,220. Public relations specialists who worked with enterprises or corporations were paid the highest while those who worked for colleges or universities were paid the least.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Rhoda Weiss is the current National Chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America. Since taking office, Weiss has worked with a number of professionals within the industry to promote the profession as well as strengthen it. During her tenure she has helped to shed light on the ethical issues that surround public relations specialists. In addition to this, she has worked with the US State Department and presented the PRSA code of ethics to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, marking the first time that a federal agency sought assistance from the PRSA.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is based in New York City and has over 100 chapters nationwide. In addition to this, the PRSA has a student association which has over 300 chapters as well. It was founded in 1947 with the purpose of advancing the profession. In addition to this, the PRSA provides networking and educational opportunities for its members.

What are the top cities for Public Relations Specialist jobs?

While rural areas may have a few jobs for public relations specialists, those seeking a career in public relations will have far more luck in large cities where a variety of industries are thriving. Presently Chicago has the highest number of public relations jobs followed by New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, DC.

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