Publicists, or public relations specialists, act as a medium between their clients and the media, helping to build the client’s public recognition and image. Publicists are employed by both individuals — largely celebrities and those in public view — and firms. Jobs in this field are expected to increase in demand by 24 percent into 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because competition for entry-level positions is competitive, an internship is a smart approach to gaining much-needed experience and contacts in the industry.
Pursue the necessary education. Publicists need at least a bachelor’s degree. A major in communications or marketing is typical of those pursuing a career in public relations. Consider additional coursework in business, journalism and public speaking, which are also beneficial to publicists. Publicists must be outgoing and self-assured and able to deliver simple yet effective communication, make sound decisions and solve problems for their clients.
Create a resume that enhances your public relations skills. Provide your full name and contact information. Include your education, listing your major and all coursework related to public relations as mentioned in Step 1. In lieu of actual work experience in public relations, describe work experience, volunteering experience or school projects that showcase your ability to work well with people, make quality decisions, deliver effective communications and build public awareness.
Search for public relations opportunities. Look for clients and firms seeking interns or hiring paid publicists. Search want ads in your local newspaper or use an online job search database. Public relations associations are also a useful resource for job hunting. Check the Public Relations Society of America website career section, as well as the International Public Relations Association’s website. Click the links tab for PR associations from other countries if you are open to international opportunities.
Apply for an internship. Send your resume to firms and clients looking for both entry-level publicists and interns. Attach a cover letter that explains why your internship will benefit the firm. This is where you can elaborate on one or two past work or school experiences from your resume where your PR skills made a significant difference. Do not simply rehash your resume. Explain that you intend to prove yourself as an intern in hopes of gaining additional public relations opportunities within the firm. A client seeking a paid publicist may consider using an unpaid intern whose education and outside experience have the makings of a successful public relations specialist.