Job descriptions and industry overviews

Public relations (PR) officer: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:39

Public relations officers use a wide range of media to build and sustain a positive public image for brands and other clients.

The image shows a public relations officer working on a phone and computer

PR officers, whether in house or based with an agency, are likely to work with other communications professionals, such as marketing teams, designers and copywriters.

Public relations officers (also known as public relations account executives) plan and develop PR strategies for brands, individuals and organisations. As part of this, they will identify target audiences, then develop and share information that’s tailored to audience preferences. Some PR officers handle crisis communications, dealing with negative information about a client and aiming to protect their reputation.

Some PR officers work in house and focus on projects and campaigns for their own employer, while others are employed by agencies (or are freelance) and work with a number of clients.

PR is considered part of the ‘marketing mix’ – all of the activities a brand needs to do to promote their services or products. PR officers, whether in house or based with an agency, are likely to work with other communications professionals, such as marketing teams, designers and copywriters.

Typical duties include:

  • Planning publicity strategies and campaigns.
  • Writing and producing presentations, articles, press releases and social media posts.
  • Designing or project managing the production of visual communications and digital content.
  • Dealing with enquiries from the public, the press and related organisations.
  • Organising and attending promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits.
  • Speaking publicly at interviews, press conferences and presentations.
  • Providing clients/colleagues with information about new promotional opportunities and current PR campaigns’ progress.
  • Analysing media coverage.
  • Commissioning or undertaking relevant market research and data analysis.
  • Coordinating and analysing the success of online advertising.
  • Keeping records of progress, budgets and timescales, and keeping clients/colleagues up to date with these.

Working hours could be irregular when deadlines are approaching or if you’re involved in events. You may also need to be on call (available to respond to emergencies outside working hours) at times – for example, if a client needs urgent advice to handle negative publicity.

Graduate public relations officer salaries

Starting salaries for PR officers are around £18,000, according to the National Careers Service, although you’re likely to earn more in London. Pay will increase as you build expertise, technical skills and contacts; PayScale research suggests that the average salary is around £22,000.

Typical employers of public relations officers

  • Advertising or marketing agencies.
  • Consultancies.
  • Law and professional services firms.
  • Retailers.
  • Manufacturers.
  • Charities.
  • Government organisations (local and central).
  • Health organisations.
  • Media and entertainment companies.
  • Universities.
  • IT firms.

Marketing graduate jobs are advertised by careers services and by specialist recruitment agencies. You can also find jobs advertised on specialist PR sites such as and

It’s possible to enter the profession at a junior level or in an administrative role. Networking and speculative applications may also introduce you to graduate roles.

Qualifications and training required to work in public relations

There are routes into PR for both university graduates and school leavers.

You can work in PR with any degree, although English, management, business or media studies, marketing or social sciences may be preferred by some employers. A PR postgraduate qualification can also be helpful, especially if you hope to specialise in a particular aspect of PR.

Work experience is essential, and you’ll also help your application if you have a portfolio of examples of your work to demonstrate your skills. You can build these through formal placements or internships with PR or marketing teams, or through activities you’re involved in at university. These could include PR/press work for university events, writing for student publications or managing a society’s social media account.

Key skills for public relations officers

  • Excellent communication skills both orally and in writing.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Presentation skills.
  • The ability to prioritise and plan effectively.
  • Digital media skills, such as graphic design, video editing and blog administration.
  • Social media management experience.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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