Get Tips for Starting a Career in Public Relations

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Interested in a career in public relations? Public relations (PR) professionals try to gain publicity for their clients (if they work at a PR firm) or for their organization (if they work in a corporate communications department with a particular organization).

What's It All About?

Instead of paying for ads like advertising professionals, Public Relations pros try to draw media attention to their clients hoping that print, online and/or broadcast journalists will decide that there is a story worth covering through their paper, magazine, website or tv/radio program.

Public relations staffers get the job done with tasks like writing press releases, connecting key players at their client organization to the press for interviews, arranging press conferences and other events, composing web copy and creating newsletters.

PR pros must have strong writing, verbal and presentation skills; be well organized, detail oriented; be assertive and comfortable reaching out to others. Having a solid aptitude for marketing can also be very helpful.

Tips for Starting a Career in Public Relations

College students can prepare for entry into the public relations field by doing some or all of the following:

  • Consider writing intensive majors such as English, Journalism, Communications or Marketing.
  • Develop and promote a blog on a topic of interest.
  • Develop and document your writing/communication credentials by working for campus newspapers, magazines and tv stations.
  • Work as a public relations coordinator for campus organizations.
  • Land a student job in offices where the college is promoted or events are organized like the college's media relations/communications department, sports information office, admissions, events or alumni affairs offices.
  • Pursue positions with student clubs where you can organize concerts, speakers, fashion shows and other events.
  • Conduct informational interviews with PR professionals through alumni/family contacts and professionals in your home area.
  • Ask professionals if you can job shadow them during school breaks.
  • Complete internships with PR firms, communication departments, media outlets and/or marketing firms. Contact small local firms near your school or home through local chambers of commerce as well as targeting big name firms.
  • Join the Public Relations Student Society of America to learn more about the field, identify mentors and internships as well as to demonstrate your professional interest.
  • Consider starting your career with a paid post-graduate internship.

By preparing in these ways you'll distinguish yourself from the competition and lay the foundation for a rewarding career in public relations.

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