Public Relations (PR) involves communicating a company’s message through the news media. PR professionals ensure that newspapers, magazines, radio and TV publish stories that portray their clients favorably. PR professionals work in a variety of sectors including non-profit, financial services, government and healthcare. Professionals in this field can expect long hours and travel; however, high earnings are common in more senior roles.
A typical career path is account or PR coordinator to account executive or PR specialist to account manager to vice president and then director. A coordinator’s work is mainly administrative though may involve some research. Account executives work with clients, write press releases, plan special events and prepare annual reports. Account managers do similar work and also supervise a team. At the executive level, the work is more strategic and involves managing the firm. Necessary skills include strong communications skills, good English, interpersonal skills and an outgoing and entrepreneurial personality.
A bachelor’s degree in a communications field or English and some PR experience are good entry points. The best way to get into this field is through an internship.
Employment is expected to grow faster than average, especially with companies placing more focus on social media. Employees with international experience and multiple language capabilities are expected to be in high demand.
Burson-Marsteller - main areas: corporate relations, health care, consumer relations, grassroots PR
Edelman - main areas: consumer marketing & healthcare
Fleishman-Hillard – main areas: youth marketing, sports and baby boomers
Hill & Knowlton - main areas: corporate, marketing communications and public affairs
Ketchum – main areas: brand marketing, corporate, food & nutrition, health care and technology