With the momentous transformation of modern media and a growing need for consumer transparency and user-engagement, an increased demand for public relations has become inherent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PR specialists’ employment is projected to grow 22.5 percent between 2010 and 2020. During that time period, an additional 58,200 jobs will need to be filled.
In this always-on, hyper-connected digital world in which we live, the relationship between people and brands is constantly evolving. To adhere to these rapid changes, the role of the PR practitioner has evolved through the years – from traditional to digital. Within recent years, social media outreach has become an integral part of a PR specialist’s responsibilities.
“With the onset of social infrastructure such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, combined with the versatility of Web tools, the jobs of public relations specialists are growing at a fast clip,” says Gerard Corbett, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
In addition to being ranked 41st overall, PR specialists also snagged the title of number one creative services job of 2012, ahead of “Architect” and “Artist and Designer.”
If you’re interested in embarking on a career in public relations, see below for some of the standards and projections for the industry according to U.S. News and World Report:
- Cultivate and maintain close and productive relationships with journalists, bloggers, and opinion leaders.
- Create print and Web-based communications materials—which may include story pitches, press releases, Q&As, presentations, video scripts, and speeches—ensuring they are consistent with your client’s image and message.
- Acting as a company spokesperson for a wider variety of media inquiries and speaking directly to the press on behalf of your client (sometimes deflecting negative criticism) to preparing your client for press conferences, media interviews, and speeches.
For what to expect on the job, Corbett advises, “Be prepared for a higher level of stress than normal, be flexible in your work hours, and have a relationship that can endure late nights, early mornings, and occasional weekends. Managing the rigors of the job will require flexibility in work-life balance, which can be made easier by a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise of some sort.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual wage for public relations specialists was $52,090 in 2010. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $95,200, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $30,560. The highest paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Victoria, Texas, San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C.
Education and Preparation:
Most public relations specialists have bachelor’s degrees 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 avenues to finding entry-level employment. Becoming a member in local chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America (affiliated with the PRSA) gives students the opportunity to network directly with professionals in the industry. Corbett says two to five years of experience are likely required by hiring managers.
To view other occupations that made the list, click here for the full list of U.S. News and World Report “Best Jobs of 2012.″