Public relations officers use their communications skills — speaking and writing — to find ways of making their client stand out favourably in the eyes of the public. The client can be a company, an individual or government.
What’s this career about?
Public relations (PR) executives are communications professionals. They help companies develop and maintain a good image. Every time a company has a new product to sell, a PR executive helps get the media interested and tries to get good reviews for the product.
To get positive media coverage for a new product, executives have to be creative. It’s the right positioning or idea or angle that really excites the reader or changes people’s minds. They are the ones who decide if there should be advertising for the product in magazines, newspapers, on the radio or TV, or some media event. Often they advise companies on what trade shows they should attend and help set up conventions.
They plan and conduct publicity campaigns. They write media releases, take photographs, and prepare promotional packages. They set up speaking engagements and press conferences. They often prepare speeches for company officials. They may make visual presentations at meetings, prepare annual reports and write proposals for projects.
They also write memos and newsletters for both in-house use and for the public at large. They may also organize meetings and workshops.
They act as the contact person between their employer and others, including consumers, community groups, government agencies, and the media.
Apart from writing news releases and preparing a product campaign that is done in an office setting, PR executives spend a fair amount of time on the road. They meet with the media, attend trade shows, conventions, press conferences and media events. They may also have to travel to meet with clients.
Working in PR can lead to a fast-paced, ever-changing career that brings with it many rewards. It’s a challenging and rewarding line of work for people with great communications skills and a love of information.
How do I get there?
Most public relations specialists have a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, public relations, marketing or other relevant fields. Internships in public relations provide students with hands-on experience and are considered one of the best ways to start their career. A specialized course in public relations is generally available as a post-graduate diploma course for which the basic eligibility is a graduation. A course in photography or visual communication along with PR course is also helpful.
- How do I get there?
- Key skills
- Institutes offering course in public relations
- Employment prospects and pay packages
Dr Vibha Gupta, a feature writer, is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications are an attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.