Where do you fit in the PR world?

2 02 2009

There are so many directions that you can go when you decide to become a public relations professional. I have always known that I want to work for a Public Relations firm when I graduate, but the avenues that you can enter in to the field are endless. There are pros and cons for each avenue. My advice is that you discover for yourself the avenue in which the pros outweigh the cons, and then you will know what direction is best for you.

My university department does not have career advising; Students are left to fend for themselves and research opportunities on their own. As a result, when I have mentioned leading Public Relations agencies to members in our chapter of the PRSSA, to my surprise, many have given me blank stares. The University or Journalism department cannot be completely to blame for this lack of knowledge however. Students should research the career that they intend to enter and should not rely on a university to hold their hand (although it would be nice to have a little guidance).

I have put together a list of public relations careers, including examples for and information about each (Keep in mind that I am of course a little biased. Also note that this is a very brief overview for people just needing the basics):



  • Strong training programs
  • Big clients with constant PR needs
  • Room to move within the company (e.g.: If you become interested in a new PR practice, you don’t need to move companies. Rather, you can move within the company when there is availability in the practice of your interest.)
  • Multiple mentors of all levels
  • Endless office resources (e.g.: accounting, IT, human resources, office assistants, and receptionists)
  • Typically highest paid Public Relations position for entry level  
  • Entry level positions include a great deal of administrative work at first that will help you to really learn about your client
  • Gain valuable experience that will help you to either work your way up within the company or move to another company that may require agency experience

Examples of Agencies



  • Immediate “hands-on” experience
  • A great diversity of work – You may be working on Public Relations projects, marketing, advertising, etc.
  • Boutiques are specialized in one practice area (e.g.: technology, corporate, brand marketing, social media, etc.)

Examples of firms



  • It is more common for people to enter this career after they have already worked for a PR firm
  • You may be a communications representative/spokesperson for the company
  • You may contact the media from time to time, but the majority of your work will be to respond to the media – most companies have PR agencies that do their media relations – you will work with those agencies


  • Any corporation



  • PR will most likely be just one of your many job descriptions
  • You will take on the “learn by doing” mindset since there are not enough people to spend their valuable time training you
  • You will be working for the greater good
  • Pay of course will be the lowest offered in a PR job


  • Any non-profit or government agency







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