If you excel at communicating with people and have a creative or business side to you, you may want to consider a career at a public relations company. Apart from anything else, it can be well paid; the average industry salary is around $50,000 although it’s possible to earn a lot more than that if you handle more important accounts or move up through the ranks.
The concept of public relations as a paid profession began at the beginning of the 20th century, although it’s believed that ancient cultures practiced some sort of basic public relations. Since then the industry has embraced changes in society and technology and today is worth an estimated $63 billion worldwide. PR, as it’s usually known, is basically about managing how information flows between a person or company to the public. It’s not strictly advertising, although that often plays a big part in a PR campaign, as does marketing and promoting.
To work for a public relations company, you’ll typically need a Bachelor’s degree. There are several relevant subjects that you can focus on in addition to public relations; studying marketing, journalism or communications can also be a useful background to pursuing a career in the field. Other skills are useful to anyone who wants a successful career in PR, including excellent public speaking, being able to ‘think outside the box’, an understanding of marketing and advertising, and good writing skills. Your job may well see you interact with a variety of people, and being comfortable in the boardroom or in a more casual work environment is a must too.
One benefit of working for a public relations company is that the work can be varied, with no two days exactly the same. Although much of the working day can be routine, it can also be fast paced; often those working in the PR business are working to a tight deadline, with a lot of pressure to deliver the finished product on time. And you won’t always be sitting at a computer; interacting with clients in a business or social setting is just as important. You may find yourself working on a large or important account for months, perhaps even longer and you may also find yourself specializing in a specific area, such as accounting, marketing or general administration.
These days it can be challenging landing that dream job at a large and respected public relations company, as media and communications have become increasingly important. Many applicants looking to pursue a PR career attempt to stand out from the competition; one way is to start by taking an apprentice or intern position, or volunteering at a church, community center or other facility. It’s also possible to become certified as a public relations expert, something else that can increase your chances of being hired. And there’s always the possibility to work for yourself or establish your own agency, although getting clients can be a challenge. Regardless, there’s no doubt that it can be an exciting, challenging and rewarding career.