Public Relations

A public relations specialist is a “spin doctor.” PR specialists must generate positive publicity for their clients, and sometimes this involves shaping the truth into the most favorable light. Clients of public relations specialists may run the range from corporations to individuals to governments.

Governments (and politicians) hire press secretaries to keep the public informed, manage political campaigns, and explain policy. Within an organization such as a corporation or even a nonprofit agency, PR people act as mediators between employees and management, and they also handle consumer relations.

If you are interested in and stay current on pop culture and current events, you might be interested in a career in public relations. To be successful in this field, you must obviously be a great communicator—in person, in print, and on the phone. You must know how to exercise tact, and you must be quick on your feet mentally. Remember, part of your job will be to cultivate relationships with journalists. You may also arrange speaking engagements, write speeches, write press releases, produce marketing materials, or speak to the press on behalf of your client. To do these things well, you must also be a creative person and have an analytical, problem-solving way of thinking.

A degree in public relations from a business school can help you land an entry-level position as a public relations specialist. If you want to work in PR in a specific field, such as information technology, you should also build your knowledge of that area by choosing electives that are targeted to that area.

Keep in mind that to be considered for a higher-level public relations position, you must either earn a master’s degree or obtain a strong portfolio of practical PR experience.

As a public relations major at business school, you can expect to study communication strategies, journalism, and marketing. You will also take courses aimed at strengthening your writing skills. In addition, you’ll probably study marketing, social media, public communications, and technical or business writing. You may also take courses in sociology, psychology, or consumer behavior.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in public relations will increase over the next few years. In spite of this, competition for positions at entry level will be fierce. Those with master’s degrees in PR or a related field will have the edge in this career field.

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