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Public Relations Employment - Public relations employment grows as media becomes more diverse

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The role of public relations practitioners is getting increasingly more important, as the media landscape gets more fragmented and consumers continue to ignore and distrust traditional advertising. For that reason, public relations employment is an increasingly viable career option for college graduates and experienced media professionals.

As organizations increasingly see greater value in media coverage of their products and services, a greater degree of emphasis is placed on public relations as an important part of the communications mix. Therefore employment opportunities in public relations are expected to grow in the near future.

The job of Public relations specialists is to handle the communication functions of organizations, whether they are companies selling products or services, or non-profit groups who want to bring greater attention to their cause. For that reason, those seeking public relations employment need more than anything else a desire to communicate in all forms of media.

Many organizations have their own in-house public-relations department, but some firms choose instead to delegate their communications work to outside public relations agencies. Such agencies function largely like advertising agencies, and indeed are often closely tied to divisions in the agency that handle advertising. Many public relations agencies have grown out of firms that were originally advertising agencies.

By comparison, there are advantages to in-house public relations employment and working for an agency. As with most professions, it is generally best to discuss the merits of both by consulting practitioners who work in the field.

Public relations specialists are known by a number of other titles, some of the most common being media specialists and communications specialists. Likewise, responsibilities in these various titles can vary a great deal as well.

Responsibilities can include interviewing sources inside and outside the organization, creating speeches, writing press releases, blogging, pitching story ideas to editors, and measuring the performance of communications initiatives.

Although many who are employed in public relations come from a publishing or writing background, many colleges and universities offer specific degrees in public relations, and it has increasingly become a specialized field of its own.

With the increasing role of the internet in all forms of communications, the need for excellent social media skills is vital to anyone seeking public relations employment. For this reason, those who can demonstrate proficiency in all of the major social media outlets will have a considerable advantage.

Regardless of a candidate’s background versatility is generally an important part of public relations employment. Most public relations departments have a heavy workload that necessitates each team member to handle many different responsibilities. Sometimes these responsibilities can vary throughout the day, and other times a public relations practitioner is put on an assignment that lasts for days or weeks at a time, until the next phase of the project arrives.

Many public relations positions require extensive knowledge of a particular field, market, or set of technologies. Therefore, people seeking public relations employment often come from operational positions within a particular field.

This is especially true for business-to-business fields, where public relations practitioners often get their start employed with magazines covering a particular market or industry. This gives them the advantage of knowing the specific nuances of a wide range of issues relevant to the field.

As with most professions, one of the best ways to find out more about public relations employment is by contacting professional organizations. These groups typically have networking events that allow members to meet current practitioners in the field. Some professional groups also have formal mentoring programs available to members.

The leading professional organization for public relations employment is the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

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