The basic role of a public relations specialist is to communicate with the public about an organization and their policies, goals, community activities and business decisions. Public relations specialists assist clients in building and maintaining positive relationships with the public; preparing press releases, speeches and other informative materials for the media; and monitoring media coverage and public opinion.
If this sounds appealing to you, here are a few things you should know about working in public relations.
Some companies have in-house public relations departments or specialists, while other companies rely on a public relations firm. Each one has its benefits. When you work for an agency, you have the ability to work with many companies and personalities, and your messaging and goals will be varied, so you probably won't get bored. When you work for one company, you work mostly with a steady group of people and you may become very knowledgeable about the company's stakeholders, goals, positions and activities.
Importance across Industries
You may think that only large corporations or celebrities need public relations specialists, but that’s not true. Government agencies, from local to federal, use public relations specialists to inform the public of current and upcoming activities. Nonprofit organizations also rely heavily on public relations specialists, and schools, health or social welfare groups, churches, and hospitals often have at least one public relations specialist in their organization.
People who are good communicators can excel in this career. In public relations, you'll interact with many people, so this might be a good choice for a social butterfly. Depending on your position, you may talk with the media, represent your company at public events, give speeches and work with high-level executives. You'll also need to enjoy problem-solving and be up for a challenge, because public relations specialists often must address sensitive or critical issues.
The employment of public relations specialists and managers is expected to grow at an above average rate from 2010 to 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 21 percent increase in the number of public relations jobs, estimating that by 2020, an additional 68,300 jobs in the field will become available. In 2010, the median pay for a public relations manager or specialist was $57,550, and experienced public relations specialist may earn over $90,000 per year, according to the BLS. (Learn more here: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers-and-specialists.htm#.)
If a career in public relations sounds right for you, learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at South University!