Public relations is a term that means just what it says. As a career professional in this field, your job is to handle all facets of your client in the public arena. You and your agency or corporate communication department colleagues represent the organization internally and externally. In this blog post we will discuss some truths and some myths about public relations and corporate communication careers.
Myth #1: Strong writing skills and a degree alone will get you the interview.
Fact: In this industry, having a digital footprint or profile does a lot for you. The job market within this industry is fruitful, but it’s still tough to stand out from the crowd. Having an ACTIVE blog, Twitter feed, and/or web page that discusses industry-related events help position you as a leader. The employer will see you already are doing what they will pay you to do. Apply knowledge learned from your classes to examine current public relations issues. Last year alone, such high-profile organizations like the NFL, NBA, Target, Macy’s, and more were the objects of bad PR. Use this as an opportunity to present your ideas in an “If I were in charge of PR, I would…” fashion.
Myth #2: Public relations is solely about being a publicist.
Fact: Public relations has evolved far beyond managing the perception and image of celebrities and companies. It is at the point where most large organizations have a corporate communication department within their executive suites. Large or small, in this day of the 24/7 information age every company is involved in PR in some way. The power of social media has placed even more emphasis on this staff function. Even governments look to public relations and corporate communication professionals to handle their branding and positioning. The current Iran-Israel nuclear issue is a prime example of high-level public relations issue.
Myth #3: PR is all about the “spin.”
Fact: As Bob Noltenmeier, Clinical Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Public Relations and Corporate Communication graduate program, said, “True PR can be extremely blatant, obvious and in your face, or really subtle to the point where you don’t know it’s happening. That is where social science and psychology comes in—and that’s the kind of public relations we prefer and that really works. Every day in PR, you are either reinforcing positive attitudes or changing negative ones.”
Many career opportunities exist within the corporate communications and public relations field; in fact, it’s among the fastest growing professions. If you enter the field with the right skills—writing, presenting, understanding business and having a strong interest in news and public affairs–you will work for an agency, corporation, government entity, non-profit or your own consultancy.