Public Relations Jobs

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    Have you considered a career in Public Relations? These basics may help.

    Significant Points

    • Although employment is projected to grow much faster than average, keen competition is expected for entry-level jobs.
    • Opportunities should be best for college graduates who combine a degree in public relations, journalism, or another communications-related field with a public relations internship or other related work experience.
    • Strong communication skills are essential.

    Public Relations Job Duties

    Public relations specialists handle organizational functions, such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. Public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism.

    Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. Sometimes, the subject of a press release is an organization and its policies toward employees or its role in the community. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does to advance that issue.

    Public relations specialists also arrange and conduct programs to maintain contact between organization representatives and the public. For example, public relations specialists set up speaking engagements and prepare speeches for officials. These media specialists represent employers at community projects; make film, slide, and other visual presentations for meetings and school assemblies; and plan conventions.

    Employment

    Public relations specialists hold about 275,200 jobs in the U.S. They are concentrated in service-providing industries, such as advertising and related services; healthcare and social assistance; educational services; and government. Others work for communications firms, financial institutions, and government agencies.

    Public relations specialists are concentrated in large cities, where press services and other communications facilities are readily available and where many businesses and trade associations have their headquarters. Many public relations consulting firms, for example, are in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. There is a trend, however, toward public relations jobs to be dispersed throughout the Nation, closer to clients.

    Job Outlook

    Employment is projected to grow much faster than average; however, keen competition is expected for entry-level jobs.

    The recent emergence of social media in the public relations is expected to increase job growth as well. Many public relations firms are expanding their use of these tools, and specialists with skills in them will be needed.

    Public Relations Wages

    Median annual wages for salaried public relations specialists were $51,280 (in May 2008, the latest date for which information was vailable). The middle 50 percent earned between $38,400 and $71,670; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,140, and the top 10 percent earned more than $97,910. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of public relations specialists were:

    Management of companies and enterprises $55,530
    Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations 55,460
    Advertising, public relations and related services 55,290
    Local government 51,340
    Colleges, universities, and professional schools 46,660

    For the latest wage information:

    The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit public relations specialists.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman:

    Ms. Chapman’s new book has a name change! The Net-Powered Entrepreneur – A Step-by-Step Guide will be available very soon. With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @ LisaChapman.com