If you are interested in a career in public relations, you need to know more details about the job in PR, required skills and qualifications, as well as job outlook, and more.
Public relations professionals work to uphold the positive perception and image of the company.
They reach to stakeholder groups to deliver the message of the organization and influence people to purchase the product or support an initiative.
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What Does a Public Relations Professional Do
Often, people confuse the profession in public relations with advertising.
But PR professionals don’t deal with creating commercials that you see on TV or billboards.
People in public relations are strategic communicators that tell the story of an organization for free in blogs, newspapers, television, and radio, social media, and other channels of interactions with customers.
They develop and protect the brand of an organization and, during crises, communicate the status of the organization and the path to recovery.
Depending on the company and their experience, the salary of public relations professionals can vary.
- Build relations with stakeholder groups inside and outside the organization.
- Develop efficient communication plans to spread the message of the organization, such as a strategy to launch a new product or to encourage people to enroll in an event.
- Create statements, press releases, speeches for the leaders of organizations, and stories.
- Manage media inquiries and pitch stories to the main members of the media.
- Create and be ready to put into effect a crisis communication plan.
- Organize promotional events such as press conferences, tours, meetings, and exhibitions.
- Analyze media and social media engagement scores to ensure that messages are reaching the target audience and strike a chord with potential customers.
Public relations employees spend most time building relations and networking.
They must present a trustworthy and informed image and know the importance of a prompt follow up.
Public relations professionals need excellent oratory and written skills.
They will frequently speak on behalf of the organization, whether it is a planned speech or an unexpected occurrence.
They must speak pointedly and with confidence.
Also, they write almost daily, whether it’s an email draft to a client or a press release of a new product.
PR professionals deal with evolving communication platforms and customer preferences all the time.
Therefore, they should be able to think outside the box and find new ways to reach the target audience.
The job of a PR pro can change quickly.
They basically don’t have two same days.
Crises occur when they are least expected, competitors may release the desired product, clients can make extreme demands, etc.
PR professionals should be flexible and adapt easily to changes.
How to Become a Public Relations Professional
Anyone who wished to enter the field should obtain a public relations or similar degree.
It can also be mass communications, public policy, journalism, etc.
For better networking, they should join professional organizations as well.
Training and Qualifications
To become a PR professional, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in public relations or a related field.
Many professionals also get an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certificate, with which they can reach the top professionals in the field.
Before starting the APR process, the Public Relations Society of America recommends having at least five years of experience.
Also, you’ll need to study for about one year to get the certification.
If you decide to pursue the APR, it’s best to join a study group, however, there are multiple resources for this online too.
Before they start, applicants should submit an application to the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which will review their qualifications.
Once approved, the applicant has one year to take the course, complete a panel presentation before the accreditation chair, and pass a computer-based exam.
The panel presentation is needed to evaluate the competency of a candidate in the areas that the test doesn’t determine, such as flexibility, initiative, multi-tasking, etc.
The students who wish to enter the field can complete internships or work studies during their time in school.
Public relations professionals with little to no experience will start at an agency doing grunt work, but they will have a chance to learn and develop.
Don’t fall for the job adds which look for public relations or marketing professionals with no experience.
Often, these are questionable marketing schemes that won’t help the career.
Usually, public relations professionals work standard business hours.
However, their schedules can change every week.
While planning and organizing events, they may have to work late hours.
In times of crisis, the schedule can be hectic and involve working even at night.
Flexibility is one of the key requirements for a public relations job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth of the employment rate in public relations by 6% through 2024.
With ever-changing demographics and consumer preferences, companies will need to improve and maintain their image.
For this, they will need talented public relations professionals.
The average salary of a public relations professional is $45,674 per year.
If you are interested in this career, you should know that education is mandatory.
You will have greater success with a larger network, so you need to join professional organizations and stay active in them.
Professionals in PR need exceptional communication skills.
The profession in PR can be highly rewarding, but you may have to work long hours.
Creative people who work with a wide variety of stakeholders can be very successful in this position.