How To Become a Public Relations (PR) Specialist in 6 Steps

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations or another communications field, social science, or business. Through such programs, students may produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

There are many career opportunities in the exciting field of public relations for recent graduates. If you want to start a career in public relations, you might be wondering how to get your foot in the door. Ideally, you’ll want to do both: go to networking events and look for internships at PR agencies.

Your response will help determine which path your PR career will take: are you passionate about working with a variety of businesses, or are you more interested in learning everything there is to know about one particular business? Working at an agency, for instance, might be your best option if you’re interested in working with multiple brands and getting a broad perspective of several distinct industries. However, if you’re more interested in learning about a particular industry firsthand, joining an in-house PR team might be a better fit.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure of your preferred course of action, we advise pursuing an internship at a PR firm. This will provide you with an excellent overview of the various types of accounts that PR specialists work on as well as the practical experience you need to be successful in the field.

Being able to define and promote the stories of the brands you work with is one of the keys to working in PR because public relations is fundamentally about storytelling. You need to be good at communicating and have a solid grasp of media and marketing trends in order to do this effectively. We advise enrolling in relevant courses like communications, marketing, and media studies to expand your skill set. These will both aid in the development of your media industry knowledge and provide you with some excellent tips on how to truly engage an audience.

Pro-tip: Establishing your own brand or working on a freelance project are two additional ways to improve your skills. This doesn’t have to be a large project, but it should show that you are familiar with developing a brand identity. For instance, if public relations and fashion are both your interests, you could launch a fashion blog and build a brand strategy around it. Even though taking on this kind of project is not required to land a PR job, hiring managers will be greatly impressed if you can show initiative and develop and implement a PR strategy.

Taking on a PR internship is another excellent way to expand your skill set. This will enable you to gain practical experience working with clients and give you a better idea of the brands and industries you’d like to work in. You might be developing brand strategy, assisting account executives with managing client accounts, writing press releases, managing social media channels, and more, depending on the type of internship you choose to take. Taking on an internship is a great way to both build your resume with relevant experience and determine what you want to do for a living in the PR industry.

When applying for a position in public relations, you must demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the field and enthusiastic about working with clients to develop and spread their stories. What does public relations mean to you? and “What is your favorite brand and why?” are two frequently asked questions that are meant to gauge your level of interest in public relations as well as your comprehension of branding and marketing strategies. When responding to them, it’s critical to convey your genuine enthusiasm for the industry and desire to learn more about how to assist brands in succeeding.

Networking is one of the keys to getting a job in any industry, but it’s especially crucial in public relations. This is so that PR can produce results, which depends on developing relationships between brands, journalists, and audiences. By participating in networking events and meetups, as well as connecting with others on business-related social media sites like LinkedIn, it’s critical to work on building strong relationships with colleagues and journalists in order to accomplish this successfully.

Working in Public Relations | All About PR

Salary for a public relations specialist

According to the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a public relations specialist makes an average yearly salary of $61,150, though this can vary slightly by industry. According to their field, the following is a list of PR specialists’ median salaries:

What does a public relations specialist do?

Specialists in public relations, also known as media experts or communications experts, cultivate and maintain a positive reputation for the business they represent. Public relations experts improve their clients’ reputations without spending money on advertising by creating resources for the media to use in their stories, interacting with the target audience on social media, and developing relationships with the media.

Public relations professionals work in a variety of fields, such as education, advertising, politics, and government. They may be referred to as press secretaries in politics and government.

The day-to-day duties of public relations specialists include:

A public relations specialist might be employed by the company they represent or by a PR agency with numerous clients.

How to become a public relations specialist

To become a highly skilled public relations professional, follow these steps:

1. Complete a bachelors degree

A bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, English, journalism, or business is typical for media professionals. But if you want to work in politics or the government, you might think about majoring in political science and minoring in public relations. Taking classes in business administration, marketing, advertising, public speaking, and creative writing can help prospective candidates as well.

2. Get on-the-job training

An internship can be a great way for students to gain experience in the industry before applying for their first position in public relations. Getting an entry-level PR job can help you gain experience to make your PR specialist resume stand out if you’ve already finished an internship or graduated from college. Another strategy for getting training is through job shadowing, which can also help you make contacts in the industry who could later recommend you for PR jobs.

3. Learn what kind of PR you like

Many industries employ public relations specialists, including:

A public relations professional may concentrate on making sure that advertising campaigns are consistent with the company’s brand and satisfy the needs of the target market. A great way to incorporate your interests into your workday is through advertising PR. For instance, if you enjoy hiking a lot, you might enjoy working as a media specialist for a company that sells outdoor equipment.

Public relations professionals in the field of education may be in charge of raising funds for the construction of new facilities, the purchase of equipment, or the hiring of new teachers. Education PR professionals may also advertise for university sports teams, contact potential students, and highlight significant school events.

Public relations specialists work in the government and are frequently referred to as press secretaries. They handle communications like informing the public about helpful government programs, drafting news releases explaining how to complete new tax forms, and directing awareness campaigns about health and safety hotlines.

In politics, PR specialists may also be called press secretaries. They are in charge of preserving a politician’s reputation, responding to inquiries from the media about political choices, and managing the public perception aspect of a political campaign.

Business public relations experts concentrate on enhancing a brand’s credibility, managing relationships with potential clients, and creating company news releases to publicize new products, corporate responsibility initiatives, or company events.

4. Try joining a professional association

Many public relations professionals join a professional organization, such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), to improve their professional image. To determine which professional association will advance your career the most, it is helpful to conduct research on your target industry.

Professional PR associations typically offer the following advantages to their members:

5. Consider getting a certification

A certification can demonstrate your professional competence, expertise, and up-to-date skills, which can help you stand out from other applicants for PR specialist jobs even though it is typically optional. You can pursue certifications from many professional PR associations whether or not you are a member of the organization. If you’re unsure which certificate to select, think about getting advice on how to get started from a PR association that interests you.

6. Compile a portfolio

Many employers prefer that applicants for PR specialist positions include a portfolio with their applications. Your public relations specialist portfolio can include:

You can include samples relevant to the industry you’re applying to in your portfolio to make it stand out. To do this, create a few excellent pieces that highlight your most salient abilities.

Skills for a public relations specialist

To establish connections between their clients, the media, and the public, public relations professionals use a set of highly developed soft skills. Consider taking a workshop or online course to improve your soft skills, or look for a mentor who will provide you with honest feedback, like a trainer, internship director, or job shadowing coordinator.

Public relations specialists often have the following industry-specific skills:

Communication

Public relations professionals are accountable for preserving an open line of communication with the media on behalf of their clients, which calls for highly developed communication and interpersonal skills. These skills may include:

Organization

Because they frequently oversee PR campaigns and events, public relations specialists benefit from having strong organizational skills. Here are a few organization-related skills PR specialists may have:

Problem-solving

On the job, public relations professionals frequently apply these problem-solving techniques:

Writing

Writing is typically a part of a PR specialist’s daily duties. They frequently possess the following writing skills:

FAQ

How do I start a career in PR?

Here are the steps you need to follow in order to become a public relations specialist.
  1. Decide where your PR passion lies. …
  2. Build your skill set by taking relevant classes. …
  3. Take on a PR internship. …
  4. Know what to expect from the interview process. …
  5. Network, network, network.

What does public relations specialist do?

Public relations professionals develop and uphold a positive public image for the company they work for. To influence how the public perceives their organization and to raise awareness of its activities and objectives, they create press releases and create social media programs.

What experience do you need to be a public relations specialist?

When hiring entry-level public relations specialists, employers typically prefer candidates with two to five years of work experience, and those with a bachelor’s in communication are frequently sought after by potential employers.

What qualifications do you need for public relations?

You must be a graduate in any field, preferably mass media, to pursue a career in public relations. Additionally, you can pursue a one-year postgraduate certificate in public relations or a two-year master’s degree in communication and journalism with a second-year PR concentration.

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