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.
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.
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
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.