You were born with a silver tongue and a head for publicity. You know you want to be a public relations professional. But knowing you want to “work in PR” and actually finding a job are two different things entirely.
A media relations wizard might choke up when it comes to serving as a company spokesperson, or a PR pro who writes captivating press releases may buckle under the pressure of crisis communications. Before you start sending out resumes, take some time to research various PR specialties, like:
Media Relations Expert – These PR pros focus on building strong relationships with print and broadcast media outlets and, increasingly, bloggers. With their cell phones always on to catch calls from reporters, they are masters of the engaging press release and can often be found networking with journalists and other media professionals.
Crisis Communications Expert – These are the PR pros that a company calls when the CEO has been caught with his hand in the till or some other such corporate misdeed, true or not, has leaked out. Individuals require crisis communicators, too, as Tiger Woods’ apology for bad behavior attests. Think Tiger came up with that speech on his own? Nope, there was probably a savvy crisis communicator behind that appearance. Crisis communications experts perform “damage control” and help save companies’ reputations in the public eye.
Spokesperson – If you see a company representative on television, it’s often that company’s PR spokesperson. These PR pros are the public faces of their companies, and are comfortable both in the spotlight and in front of the flashbulbs. They are required to be extremely knowledgeable about the organization in order to field tough questions from reporters and the public.
Event Planner/Trade Show Organizer – This special type of PR pro is responsible for planning company events and trade shows. Her behind-the-scenes work may include working with contractors such as builders, electricians and caterers to plan events, and working with marketers, the media and key people to ensure that the events are successful.
That’s not to say that some PR jobs do not incorporate two or more of these specialties. The sole PR person as a small business may be responsible for all four specialties while a large company may have a whole team of PR pros dedicated to crisis communications alone. If you’re unsure which specialty suits you, you might consider PR agency work, where each client requires a new strategy and presents new challenges. Or you might choose a special niche like publicizing books and authors or handling celebrity publicity.
If your first specialty doesn’t pan out, try again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points to PR as one of the few industries with a positive growth outlook, so the opportunities are out there. The question is, will you seize them?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html