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Arkansas State University

Get a Job in Public Relations (PR)

The Arkansas State University Master of Science in Media Management, Public Administration online program prepares students for management roles in a variety of exciting fields, including public relations. A combination of core business and specialized public administration courses provide training for managerial and leadership positions and prepare graduates to hit the ground running once hired.

Public relations managers coordinate and direct the development of communications and content designed to maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. PR is an exciting and diverse field with a 2018 median pay of $114,800 per year, and a faster-than-average job growth outlook of 10% between 2016 and 2026.

Organizations That Need PR Managers

Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations need PR managers whose responsibilities include keeping the public informed. Many of these organizations have their own media or PR departments to help build, project and protect their positive public images and the reputations of their clients. Smaller firms often hire external PR agencies or consultants to perform similar functions.

How PR Works

Public relations professionals are experts in attracting media attention for their organizations or clients so that broadcast, print and digital outlets will find a story worth covering. Over time, they work to build organizational credibility with constituents and the public and keep people informed about the organization’s work.

The ultimate objective of a particular engagement may be to promote ideas and innovations, support a public position or sell products and services. To accomplish these objectives, PR pros typically begin by writing a press release, a carefully worded one-page document that provides the information media outlets need to determine if there is a compelling story. If the media finds a press release captivating, the PR manager then works to connect key players within the organization to journalists at news outlets to facilitate publicity. They also work with these players to carefully refine and develop the message, and to keep it consistent through all channels and voices. By doing so, the organization can present an appealing and unified position.

In addition to working with the media, PR professionals also work to support and improve relationships in other spheres, including:

  • Government, by connecting government groups and legislators with key players in their organizations.
  • Financial institutions, by serving as a liaison between their organizations and regulatory agencies, industry analysts, and shareholders.
  • Trade, by developing relationships with other firms in the same or related industries.
  • Community, by helping to promote a positive public image for the organization within the geographic area(s) in which it operates.

How to Land Your Dream PR Job

If you are a working PR professional, you will need to become an expert on the trends, news and latest developments in your specific industry. You will need to discover its movers and shakers by networking at industry events, and you will want to develop a voice within the industry by engaging in LinkedIn groups and professional associations, as well as publishing articles demonstrating your industry expertise.

You will also want to stay abreast of major developments in PR so you can speak knowledgably to potential employers about how professionals manage crises or handle media relations. Use online resources like PR Daily and PR News to keep yourself informed so you are able to speak extemporaneously about the PR field. Join the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) and PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and look out for professional development opportunities, workshops and networking events. Use LinkedIn to identify contacts in your current network with company contacts who may be able to get you an interview.

Taking these steps will help you gain exposure to employers in your area who are doing PR work of interest to you. Compile a wish list of employers and continue to connect the dots between hiring managers and those in your network. The pedigree of a postgraduate degree in PR from Arkansas State University will also enhance your professional profile and help to attract the attention of employers who demand the most advanced and up-to-date training available.

Learn more about A-State’s online Master of Science program in Media Management, Public Administration.


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