Public relations (PR) officer: job description

Public relations officers use a wide range of media to build and sustain good relationships between the employing organisation and its clients throughplanned publicity campaigns and PR activities.
The Institute of Public Relations organises an annual careers day (normally held in London during the autumn), which is a useful source of further information about working in PR.

What does a public relations officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Public relations account executives are responsible for handling all aspects of planned publicity campaigns and PR activities during periods of crisis.

Other tasks include:

  • planning publicity strategies and campaigns
  • writing and producing presentations and press releases
  • dealing with enquiries from the public, the press, and related organisations
  • organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits
  • speaking publicly at interviews, press conferences and presentations
  • providing clients with information about new promotional opportunities and current PR campaigns progress
  • analysing media coverage
  • commissioning or undertaking relevant market research
  • liaising with clients, managerial and journalistic staff about budgets, timescales and objectives
  • designing, writing and/or producing presentations, press releases, articles, leaflets, ‘in-house' journals, reports, publicity brochures, information for web sites and promotional videos.

Typical employers of public relations officers

  • Advertising or marketing agencies
  • Consultancies
  • Commercial and industrial organisations
  • Private companies
  • Retailers
  • Manufacturers
  • Charities
  • Government organisations

Vacancies are advertised by careers services, specialist recruitment agencies and in national newspapers and trade publications including Press Gazette and PR Week. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) publishes lists of voluntary placements and salaried graduate training schemes.

The Public Relations Consultants Association Yearbook and Hollis UK Public Relations Annualcan provide useful contact information for networking and speculative applications, for which a portfolio of written work may be useful for highlighting relevant abilities. Many graduates enter the profession at a junior level or move into PR following a marketing, journalism or advertising career.

Qualifications and training required

A degree in any subject is acceptable, although English, management, business or media studies, marketing or behavioural sciences may be preferred by some employers. A PR postgraduate qualification can be helpful, as can work experience gained within the PR, marketing, fundraising, events promotion, or journalism trades.

Key skills for public relations officers

  • excellent communication skills both orally and in writing
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • good IT skills
  • presentation skills
  • initiative
  • ability to prioritise and plan effectively
  • awareness of different media agendas
  • creativity.

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