Common Questions About Public Relations Careers

Team meeting in an office

What Does Someone With a Public Relations Degree Do?

Communication is at the core of all private and public organizations. Public relations (PR) specialists use communication to protect an organization’s public. There are many different careers in public relations, but they all focus on building relationships between the organization and the public.

Most public relations experts work in office settings. Travel may sometimes be required when they may need to be present at press conferences, meetings and community outreach initiatives. While most public relations specialists work for organizations, some work for individuals, such as major sports stars, celebrities and politicians.

What Is the Difference Between a Public Relations Specialist and a Marketer?

The focus of public relations jobs is to protect and enhance the public reputation of a brand, whether that brand is for a business, government agency or individual. Public relations specialists and marketers both work toward a similar goal, but they go about their job in different ways.

Marketers produce sales material that airs on paid channels for public consumption. These include direct mailers, digital banners and guest blogs. In contrast, a PR expert focuses on enhancing public reputation through unpaid channels and social media platforms to shape the image of their client. PR specialists communicate to the public through trusted sources such as reporters and broadcast journalists.

What Are Entry-Level PR Jobs?

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, you may search for entry-level PR jobs in order to break into the field. Some of the most common entry-level PR positions include the following:

  • Executive assistants: While some of the work is secretarial, the role of executive assistant often branches out into the PR field. Executive assistants may be responsible for drafting speeches for executives, fielding questions from journalists and writing press releases.
  • Event coordinator: This position involves planning and preparing for events, meeting requirements for events to help improve the public image of an organization. An event coordinator may have a hand in facilitating transportation arrangements, catering signage, printing, security and other important services for an event.
  • Publicist: Publicists have different responsibilities depending on their client. Whether arranging book signings for a writer or arranging interviews and press conferences for large organizations, publicists are responsible for tracking media coverage and directing the public image of their client.
  • Social media specialist: These positions require careful strategies and effective writing skills. Social media specialists oversee (directly or indirectly) the social media operations of their client to keep track of the organization’s public image and public feedback.

What are Mid-Range and Senior Public Relations Jobs?

After you gain experience and professional contacts by working entry level PR jobs, you may be ready to move up to mid-range positions, followed by a senior-level position. Many higher-level positions have any of the following titles:

  • Internal/external communications manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Director of communications
  • Public information officer
  • Public relations director
  • Media director

Is Public Relations in Demand?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 270,000 people held a position as a public relations specialist in the United States in 2018. Of those, the largest group (13 percent) worked in advertising companies and related businesses, 12 percent worked for educational organizations and nine percent worked for government agencies.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like for a PR Professional?

PR professionals may perform a diverse range of tasks throughout their average day. This might begin with sifting through public responses to their clients on social media platforms and in the media. They might have meetings with their clients to discuss current and future concerns or to develop PR campaigns. Other common tasks may include the following:

  • Coach clients on effective communication techniques to use during interviews, speeches and press conferences.
  • Write press releases and distribute them to media channels.
  • Fulfill information requests and answer questions from members of the media.
  • Arrange interviews and write speeches for clients.
  • Work closely with a company’s marketing department.
  • Evaluate promotional and marketing programs to ensure alignment with the company’s desired public reputation.

Is Public Relations Right For Me?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether a career in PR is right for you. Does the thought of making a cold call fill you with excitement or dread? Do you look forward to networking opportunities? When asked to give a speech for a class, do you enjoy it or simply try to survive it?

If you enjoy these activities, then a job in PR might be a good fit for you. At its heart, PR is all about building relationships. If you enjoy working with people and respond well to high-pressure situations, then you could become a fantastic publicist or fill many other important roles.

If you are interested in pursuing a public relations career, then you can build a solid framework for future success at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Our Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree is designed to leave you with a competent understanding of public relations, organizational communication and media campaigns. To learn more, please visit our website or click on the Request more Information button on the top of this page.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.