Public Relations Specialist
What you need to know
Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They craft media releases and develop social media programs to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.
Public relations specialists usually work in offices. Some attend community activities or events. Long workdays are common, as is overtime.
Some of the things a public relations specialist might do:
- Write press releases and prepare information for the media
- Respond to information requests from the media
- Help clients communicate effectively with the public
- Help maintain their organization’s corporate image and identity
- Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
- Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
- Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media
- Interpersonal skills: Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly in order to maintain a favorable image for their organization.
- Organizational skills: Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.
- Problem-solving skills: Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.
- Speaking skills: Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.
- Writing skills: Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way, to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.
The average pay for public relations specialists in the United States ranges from $33,690 to $112,310 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The need for organizations to maintain their public image will continue to drive employment growth. The growing use of social media also is expected to increase employment for public relations specialists.
Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.