A public relations (PR) officer is responsible for building and maintaining good relations between an organisation and their clients or the public. They may work in-house or for a consultancy. Other job titles include public affairs, press, communications or media officers.
You could be:
- planning PR campaigns and strategies to achieve the aims of the organisation
- organising events including press conferences, exhibitions and open days
- writing and editing press releases, newsletters, brochures or website content and producing videos or DVDs
- managing and updating information on social media channels
- developing good contacts with the media
- writing speeches and giving presentations
- arranging hospitality, activities and gifts for visiting clients
- analysing media coverage and public opinion through research and surveys
- working within budgets and to deadlines.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Outside the public sector there are no set salary scales. Starting salaries may start at £18,000 to £20,000, rising to between £24,000 and £30,000 a year. This can rise with experience to between £40,000 and £45,000 a year. A director or head of corporate affairs can earn up to £100,000 a year.
- You would work from an office.
- You would often travel to press conferences, trade fairs, and television or radio studios.
- You would normally work five days a week, but might have to work in the evenings and weekends to meet deadlines and attend network events.
Workforce Employment Status
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- Entry is very competitive.
- Most entrants have a degree. Subjects such as advertising, public relations, journalism, communication studies, media studies, business studies, marketing, politics and psychology are relevant.
- You need 4-5 Highers for entry to a degree course.
- If your degree is in a different subject you can take a suitable postgraduate course.
- It helps to have experience in journalism, marketing or advertising.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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What Does it Take?
- excellent communication and presentation skills
- confidence, resilience and adaptability
- persuasiveness and the ability to network
- good IT skills
- creativity, originality and a flair for writing
- teamworking skills
- an interest in news and current affairs
- numeracy skills to work within budgets
- ability to multitask and work under pressure to meet deadlines.
- Training is usually on the job. Some companies offer graduate training programmes.
- The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) offer professional training courses at all levels.
- Their Foundation Award is for school leavers/students wishing to enter PR, and the Professional Certificate is for graduates who would like to move into PR, or who have at least two years' PR experience.
- With enough experience and training you can take the Professional Diploma before advancing to Accredited Practitioner Status and to the Member of the CIPR.
- You could also choose to take qualifications from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). More information is on their website.
- You might start as a PR assistant or information assistant and work up to officer level.
- You could work either for a particular firm as a press or information officer, or for a public relations agency, representing various firms.
- As a PR officer for a company you could gain promotion to communications or media relations manager.
- If you work for a PR agency you may progress to senior account executive, account manager, or account director, or into a related field like advertising and marketing.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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