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Public relations consultancy: graduate area of work

A public relations officer's job is to use a wide range of media to build and sustain good relationships between the employing organisation and its clients throughout planned publicity campaigns and PR activities.

What it involves

Employers of public relations officers include advertising/marketing agencies, consultancies, commercial and industrial organisations, private companies, retailers, manufacturers, charities and government organisations. They typically hold responsibility for:

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

What's required

A good honours degree in any subject is acceptable for entry into the profession. Some employers prefer graduates with qualifications in PR, English/literary studies, management, business/media studies, or marketing.

Many candidates hold postgraduate PR qualifications, which can be particularly beneficial, as can work experience gained within the PR, marketing, fundraising, events promotion, or journalism trades. Employers look for evidence of good IT, interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills. A portfolio of written work can be useful for highlighting relevant abilities.

Where to find out more

PR is a popular career choice and vacancies attract strong competition. Many graduates enter the profession at a junior level or move into PR following a marketing, journalism or advertising career. Vacancies are advertised by careers services, specialist recruitment agencies and in national newspapers and trade publications including Press Gazette and PR Week.

The Institute of Public Relations publishes lists of voluntary placements and salaried graduate training schemes. Speculative applications are essential - the Public Relations Consultants Association Yearbook and Hollis UK Press and Public Relations Annual Directory provide useful contact information.

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.