2017-08-21 01:05:15 PM

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YCM Career Advice: Everything you need to know about a PR degree!    Share


The PR profession is all about finding creative ways to promote a company’s image, and a program’s course load will involve a lot of real-life practice for a variety of audiences When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill left eleven men missing and tons of animals dead, BP faced a major public relations crisis: How do they apologize for the damage caused and how do they re-build their image in the eyes of the public? These are the types of high-profile crises that public relations practitioners must be prepared to handle.

You never know what issues will arise in the workforce, and the more hands-on experience you get in college, the more successful you’ll be.

At least two internships are a must during these four years because, in addition to having a bachelor’s degree, you need experience to work in this field.

CLASSES YOU’LL TAKE: Writing is the most important skill to have as a PR practitioner, so get ready to spend the next four years with your hands glued to your keyboard.

Most undergrad programs start with the basics of journalism because journalism and PR go hand-in-hand.

You’ll learn AP style, the official style guide of media writing, in order to make your press releases and pitch letters professional and uniform.

You’ll also take courses on the basics of news writing and copy editing in order to get practice applying AP style and “news voice.

” Next comes classes all about strategic planning and thinking.

As a PR practitioner, you need to know mass media laws and ethics—it’s easy to break the law without realizing it if you haven’t learned the rules of media You obviously want to be considered a credible practitioner, so taking a law of mass media course and a PR ethics course is a must Other courses to consider tacking onto your four-year plan are social media management, marketing and advertising classes IS PUBLIC RELATIONS RIGHT FOR YOU? It’s hard to summarize public relations in a neat, little sentence, but there are a few attributes that potential PR majors should possess before joining a program “PR majors are inquisitive, meaning they like to learn about new things,” Bullock said “They should be detail-oriented and able to gather facts quickly” Bullock also advises PR students to stay tuned to the social climate, making themselves aware of world events and current trends It’s hard to brand a company without understanding societal triggers, and it’s difficult to write news releases if you haven’t gathered enough information “Someone in public relations has to be passionate about the company they are speaking for and often defending,” Walla Walla University senior Hallie Anderson said “It’s all about knowing how to say the right thing in a crisis, preparing a company for a high-profile event and keeping customers interested and invested” Since PR is a communication-based field, it’s vital that future practitioners feel comfortable communicating over a variety of platforms—email, social media, phone and in person “While I love the high energy and the dedication it takes to be in public relations, I think it’s also a field people quickly burn out on, especially if they feel like they’re always cleaning up messes,” Anderson said If you have what it takes to write, talk and problem-solve for a living, you just might be fit to enter the world of public relations UPSIDES “A degree in public relations has really prepared me for the type of work that I’m doing now We learned how work with clients, how to write press releases and communications plans, and all of the strategic planning…like setting goals and tactics” DOWNSIDES: “In school we learned that there’s this ideal world where people really understand what public relations is and understand all the different nuances That’s the most frustrating for me Being in the real world has showed me that not everyone understands what public relations is” –Adara Ney “A lot of entry-level jobs really just require you to write press releases I write press releases and I call media and then I handle media I felt like I wasn’t really prepared for that Not the writing part, but dealing with other types of media and everyday PR agency work” –Anabel Mendez “I wasn’t taught how to do media list building Having to find the right people to target is about 50 percent of what you do It’s definitely a downside because it’s not what most people want to do and very time consuming” –Evelyn De La Vega when you face palm because you didn't know what to expect from your pr degree giphycom CAREER OPPORTUNITIES Before jumping into a career, it’s important to understand your competition The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for public relations specialists will grow at an average rate of 6 percent “Public relations is important in today’s society because every organization is making an impression,” Bullock said “During the economic down turn…public relations thrived because an organization’s public perception becomes even more important in difficult times” The need for public relations will never go away, and the social media boom is projected to continue creating jobs for public relations professionals A degree in public relations prepares you for a wide variety of career routes You’re not limited to working for an agency or corporate PR constantly evolves, so your career will do the same Below are a few career opportunities you have with a PR degree 1 ACCOUNT COORDINATOR The entry-level position This is the first job you’ll have after you graduate If you’re an account coordinator at an agency, you’ll do administrative work like assisting in research, creating media lists, sending pitches and writing press releases You’re overseen by an account executive 2 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Working directly with a client If you’re an account executive at an agency you essentially take on a managerial role You become the voice for your client by representing them at press conferences and writing speeches and op-eds for the CEO You also conduct strategic planning by tracking trends and seeing when your client can receive the most media coverage 3 ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR Overseeing the PR accounts An account supervisor overlooks the account executives and coordinators If you have this position, you do much of the same work that account executives do, but it’s your job to make sure everyone else is doing theirs Toss on your leadership hat, it’s time to start managing! 4 SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Manages the social media accounts for a client This is relatively new position with the sudden growth of social media If you’re a social media manager for a company, you come up with a content strategy for your client that will best develop brand awareness and generate traffic and sales This requires excellent writing, strategic planning and a dash of creativity The social media manager also needs a strong sense of judgment—one insensitive joke and the company gets national hate It’s about finding a balance between eye-catching and appropriate content to share with the public 5 COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT: Manages a company’s everyday communications Whether you’re communicating to other employees or customers, it’s your job to be the voice for your company A company will hire you for a specific project where you’ll work on branding, media analysis and communications audit In some cases you’ll work with other departments within the company, such as marketing