Since there are many different industries that employ public relations practitioners, charting your course can be difficult. The brief descriptions that follow are meant to serve as a starting point. It is a good idea to consult with professionals who work in the area you are interested in and also talk to your professors, they usually have a wide variety of experience in their background.
Prepares quarterly and annual reports. Compiles employee publications and newsletters. Organizes internal special events.
Writes for CEOs, top executives or politicians. Sometimes ghostwrites articles for trade and consumer presses.
Financial Public Relations/Investor Relations
Communicates with the press, shareholders or members of an organization regarding the organization's financial performance and objectives. Prepares periodic and annual reports, arranges stockholders meetings, writes press releases on earnings or the financial implications of new product development. Coordinates interviews between the corporation or organization executives and security analysts. Timing is key since releasing a news release could drastically affect the value of stocks.
Educational Public Relations
Educational institutions are commonly nonprofit, although they may be either public or private. Private institutions are similar to the nonprofit career definition while public institutions usually deal heavily with the government and are open to taxpayer scrutiny. Responsibilities often include fundraising and development.
Fundraising or Donor Relations
Identifies possible donors through research and then makes them aware of the organization. May involve writing grant proposals, preparing presentation books, creating videotapes, designing brochures or writing letters.
International Public Relations
Involves working with community leaders, government officials and media to establish a link between the home and international office. Knowledge of the language and customs of another country is required.
Government Public Affairs
Federal, State or Local Government
Titles include Public Information Officer, Public Affairs Officer and Departmental Assistant.
Nongovernmental Organizations' Governmental Relations
Specialists work for institutions that deal with the government.
Political Public Relations
Assists candidates running for office with speechwriting, strategizing and publicity. Government and/or history background is helpful.
Works closely with federal and/or state representatives and senators to explain the intricacies of proposed legislation. Attempts to persuade lawmakers to adopt specific viewpoints.
Health Care Public Relations
Translates medical information to the organization's publics. A science and marketing background is particularly useful.
Sports Public Relations
Handles relations with investors, players, stadium owners, community supporters, media, transportation and housing facilities, fans and the public.
Descriptions of Public Relations Organizations
Public Relations Firms
Conducts programming, research and evaluation, writing and editing, handling information, production and speaking.
Trainee or Assistant Account Executive: Updates media lists, writes press releases or sends pitch letters, phone pitches and special event planning.
Account Executive: Creative and planning aspects of public relations, client contact.
Senior Account Executive/Account Supervisor: Supervision of one large account or several smaller ones.
Senior Manager/Senior Counselor: Supervises people and accounts. Attains clients.
Involves training volunteers, promotional activities, fundraising and grant seeking and designing public relations campaigns. Practitioners often have a lot of freedom in writing campaigns and creating publicity. May include working in museums, social service and health care groups, hospitals and different types of professional organizations. Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and social service agencies, use public relations in support of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.
Corporate Public Relations
Performs trends analysis, issues management and public opinion evaluation. Often is responsible for reporting to the CEO and top executives on media issues.
- Property development PR
- Real estate PR
- Retail sector PR
- Agricultural PR
- Food service PR
- Health care PR
- Technology/IT PR
- Reputation management
- Public affairs PR
- On-line PR
- Financial/investor relations
- Employee/member communications
- Community PR
- Not-for-profit PR
- Crisis communication PR
PRSA's Career Descriptions by Niche Specialization