Public relations specialists create relationships with other business professionals.
Public relations specialists play an important role in the business community by serving as the face of their employer in the public arena. Public relations specialists maintain relationships between their employer and other civic organizations. They also draft press releases as necessary, and even coordinate and conduct various public functions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 225,590 individuals were employed as public relations specialists in the U.S. in 2010. Various educational paths and types of experience can lead to a career in public relations.
A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to break into the public relations field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several academic majors will suffice for an entry-level position in public relations. Some of these academic majors include marketing, public relations, journalism or communications. Above all, candidates for public relations positions need to have a degree in a field that stresses communication skills, and the ability to establish business and other professional relationships.
Experience is generally required to work in the public relations field. One of the easiest ways to gain employment immediately after college is complete an internship during college. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that an internship specifically in the public relations field is the best way to gain entry-level employment, but internships in related fields can also lead to a public relations career.
Public relations specialists do not generally become the face of an organization upon entry into the field. Instead, they gain experience as entry-level workers before eventually advancing on to take on more levels of responsibility. Some entry-level public relations workers complete formal training through their employer, especially in large organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that many entry-level public relations workers perform basic clerical tasks until they gain more experience. Many also work closely with a mentor who trains them to take on more advanced responsibilities.
Public relations specialists also need to have a number of other qualifications. According to the BLS, public relations specialists need to be outgoing and creative. They also need to be able to make sound rational judgments and exhibit strong problem-solving and research skills. In large firms, public relations specialists need to be able to work as a team member.