The First Step to Jobs in Public Relations

Your College Degree

Are you skilled at communications, problem solving and writing? Do you enjoy working with groups of people, but also excel at working solo? Are you interested in planning events, representing brands and individuals, working with social and interactive media, or developing marketing communications plans?

If so, you may want to consider studying public relations in college —  it could be the career for you! The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals, can help you chart your course in public relations. Learn about the following:

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What is public relations?
Public relations, as defined by PRSA, functions to “help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

This can occur:

  • By anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion.
  • Counseling employers, colleagues and management in communications approaches.
  • Developing programs that inform public understanding.
  • Planning and implementing an organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy.

What do public relations practitioners do?
That depends! Public relations practitioners work in almost any environment —  corporate, agency, nonprofit, government and education.

Responsibilities may include work in:

  • Media relations
  • Crisis communications
  • Employee/internal communications
  • Corporate communications
  • Financial communications
  • Public affairs
  • Consumer marketing
  • Entertainment and sports
  • Travel and tourism
  • Social media
  • Community relations
  • Fundraising/advancement

What are some of the skills most public relations professionals know?

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Counseling
  • Research
  • Event planning
  • Media relations and production, including development of new media
  • Management
  • Language, both written and oral
  • Strategic planning
  • Teamwork
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Problem-solving and negotiation

How do I start my public relations career?
First, attend a college or university with a public relations undergraduate program. Join your school’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. If your school does not have a Chapter, you can join PRSSA as an Affiliate. As a member of PRSSA, you’ll have opportunities to attend events, gain leadership experience, and participate in activities that will enhance your education and connect you with the public relations community.

While in school, complete one or more internships to help guide you professionally, and determine where your skills and interests are best suited.

After you graduate, transition to PRSA, and use the knowledge and connections gained over the last few years to secure a job in the public relations profession. You have now started your public relations career! Visit the PRSA Jobcenter, a great place to learn more about the types of jobs available in the industry. The detailed entry-level page has resources to get you ready for the working world.

Where can I find more information about public relations and public relations education?

Which PR-focused publications should I read to inform me of the latest industry news and trends?

What are some additional public relations resources?
In addition to PRSA and PRSSA, the following organizations offer useful resources for those pursuing public relations careers: