CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 21, 2014
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How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

How to Become a Public Relations specialist

Are you interested in designing media releases to shape an organization’s public perception and to enhance awareness of its goals and work? Becoming a public relations specialists provides you with a full package of this career. Public relations specialists are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive public image for the organization they denote.

What Do Public Relations Specialists Do?

Public relations specialists work in offices and attend community activities where they perform the following tasks:

  • Contacting media professionals who can broadcast or print material concerning their organization
  • Arranging and conducting programs to maintain contact between the public and organization representatives
  • Representing employers at various community projects
  • Making slides, films and other visuals illustrations for meetings
  • Planning conventions
  • Writing proposals for various projects and preparing annual reports
  • Updating the public on the undertakings of government officials and agencies

Salary

Public relations specialists take home a median annual salary of $61,980. Below is the summary of their earnings in the best paying cities:

Washington, D.C.

$88,820

San Francisco

$87,730

San Lose, California

$84,430

Framingham, Massachusetts

$82,170

Sacramento, California

$78,170

Source: Usnews

Skills

The imperative qualities required for you to serve well in the public relations field include but are not limited to:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good people skills
  • Outstanding organizational skills
  • Versatility to deal with a wide array of clients
  • Creativity and excellent sales skills
  • Resilience
  • An outgoing personality
  • Good judgment and decision making skills
  • Self confidence
  • Initiative

Qualifications

Even though there are no set entry requirements for public relations specialists, a large number of employers prefer candidate who have secured a bachelor’s degree in the following areas:

  • Public relations
  • Communications
  • Journalism
  • Business
  • English

Typically, these professionals receive on-the-job training or gain experience in either formal programs or working closely under the administration of more experienced staff. Entry-level workers are responsible for the maintenance of material about the organization’s skim newspapers, activities, and magazines for the purpose of assembling pamphlets and speeches. This training lasts for about one year. Once they gain the required experience, public relations specialists write speeches, news releases articles meant for publication or the performance of public relations programs.

A good rapport is a crucial requirement for public relations specialists since they deal with a wide variety of clients on a daily basis. Training programs offered in various institutions provide them with skills that enable them to know how to handle sensitive information. Working in small firms provides these professionals with a greater variety of experience compared to larger firms. On gaining more experience, public relations specialists can gain promotion to supervisory positions. Such positions include the account executive, account manager, senior account executive and vice president.

Career Prospects

The BLS projects job opportunities in the public relations field to increase 12% from 2012 to 2022. This rate is considered to be as fast as the estimate of other occupations. This is because organizations are putting more emphasis on community outreach, public perception and customer relations to foster their visibility and reputation. Since public is susceptible to change, there is need for public relations specialists to provide prompt response to news developments to keep the organization’s reputation.

Even though people seeking jobs in the field of public relations face a stiff competition, those who have secured bachelor’s degrees in communications, advertising, journalism and public relations have a competitive advantage.

If you want a career that allows you to work both indoors and outdoors and would like to meet new people, this career is meant for you.

Image Source: Floridatechonline

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