Job Title: Public Relations Consultant
Type of Company: My firm is an international public relations consulting business with offices around the world.
Education: BA, Speech, Case Western Reserve University MS, Television Communications, Syracuse University
Previous Experience: I started out as an on-air radio personality and later hosted a children's TV program. I then went behind the scenes in broadcasting as a promotion-PR executive, which eventually led to owning my own public relations firm that was sold to a multinational in 1999. Now I am "of counsel" to that firm.
Job Tasks: Public Relations is a terrific profession. It is varied, creative, and fulfilling. A background in journalism, public speaking, media (newspaper, radio, TV, on-line blogs etc) is extremely valuable.
Even though I have been in this profession for years, I am still childlike, so a business that allows me to switch from writing to speaking to idea generation to working with a team adds up to a stimulating way of making a living.
There are many opportunities for women in this business. No glass ceiling exists and maternity leaves do not impede a woman's professional advancement. If you have the talent, the drive and the motivation, gender matters not one iota.
Public Relations has a good future. People are becoming more and more skeptical and cynical about paid advertising whether from the traditional media (TV, magazines) or the internet (Twitter, blogs, Face Book) but when they read an article or see video of an actual event, it's "real" even if it's fake. It's not being paid for by a corporate entity. Well, let me amend that. Companies hire PR firms to put their best foot forward to the media but we all do that in our personal lives. The key thing is that a responsible PR firm tells the truth in a compelling way that gets the attention of news outlets.
Bottom line. The Public Relations industry is worth checking out.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the variety. The work is far from repetitive or boring. You're not following a formula but trusting your education, experience and personal initiative.
The worst thing is that it's easy to get caught up in a project and suddenly it's 8 o'clock at night.
1. Know yourself. If you thrive better doing a job from beginning to end with few interruptions, go into corporate public relations. If you like variety....can juggle balls (different tasks), then agency work is for you.
2. Watch and read. The more you observe what stories seem to get attention in the media, the better you'll be at making a judgement of how to pitch a story.
3. Actually work for the media. To be able to say "been there, done that" gives you a credibility and takes theory to reality when being a public relations professional.
Additional Thoughts: Public Relations is a great industry. Give it a try.
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