(6.2 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||58,200|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Creative Jobs||#1|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#51|
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 PR 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&As, presentations, video scripts, and speeches—ensuring they are consistent with your client's image and message. Other responsibilities range from 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. 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, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects public relations specialists employment growth of 23 percent between 2010 and 2020. During that time period, an additional 58,200 jobs will need to be filled. Because of its promising outlook, the public relations specialist profession has claimed the 51 spot on the 2013 list of Best Jobs, right behind construction manager.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for public relations specialists was $53,190 in 2010. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $96,880, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $30,860. The highest-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif.
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.
"A public relations specialist job requires writing skills, critical thinking ability, fast turnaround, patience, a thick-skin mentality, and creativity," says Corbett, who also adds that you should be able to demonstrate real accomplishments and have broad networks. And wallflowers need not apply—public relations specialists must have an outgoing, self-confident, and friendly personality.
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|
|Stress Level||Above Average|