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Public Relations Specialist

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Overall Score
(5.6 out of 10)

Number of Jobs

27,400

Median Salary

$54,170

Unemployment Rate

4.5 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Creative Jobs #1
The 100 Best Jobs #85

Whether you're the press secretary for the president of the United States, a communications director for Google or a media specialist for a small nonprofit, your main goal is to generate positive publicity for your client and enhance their reputation. As a public relations specialist, it's your job to cultivate and maintain close and productive relationships with journalists, bloggers and opinion leaders. You'll be asked to create print and Web-based communications materials – which may include story pitches, press releases, Q-and-A interviews, presentations, video scripts and speeches – that are consistent with your client’s image and message. Other responsibilities range from acting as a company spokesperson for a 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. Social media outreach has become an integral part of a PR specialist's job in recent years. "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, a chair of the Public Relations Society of America.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects public relations specialists employment growth of 12 percent between 2012 and 2022. During that time period, an additional 27,400 jobs will need to be filled. Because of its promising outlook, the public relations specialist profession has claimed the No. 85 spot on the 2014 list of Best Jobs, right behind preschool teacher.

Salary

The BLS reports the median annual wage for public relations specialists was $54,170 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $101,030, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $30,760. The highest-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $74,110
Median $54,170
25th Percentile $40,080

Training

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 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.

Reviews & Advice

"A public relations specialist job requires writing skills, critical thinking ability, fast turnaround, patience, a thick-skin mentality and creativity," says Corbett, who adds that you should be able to demonstrate real accomplishments in the field and have broad networks. And wallflowers need not apply – public relations specialists must have an outgoing, self-confident and friendly personality.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good Above Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average
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Last updated by Kimberly Castro.


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