So, what exactly is PR?
Public relations is, fundamentally, all to do with communications. This may involve reporting quarterly earnings to stockholders, educating the public on how to use a particular product or dealing with the aftermath of a company crisis. If you have the ability to communicate effectively, both through speech and the written word, then you are on the right track towards becoming an accomplished PR professional.
Getting a Job in PR
There is no solid rule dictating how you should enter public relations. Many people have crossed over from other industries, including journalism and advertising, and have used their experience in those areas to bring a new and relevant perspective to the PR arena.
Increasing numbers of colleges, schools and universities are now offering courses in public relations and communications. If you are already employed but want to switch careers then there are a number of night courses or part-time options available.
Attending Toastmasters meetings, an international non-profit organisation which helps its members develop public speaking and leadership skills, can also help you develop the communication skills that are so vital in PR.
The one thing that every public relations employer is looking for is practical work experience. A CV with good, relevant work experience and references on it will serve you well when it comes to looking for a job. Many of the larger PR consultancies, such as Porter Novelli and Fleishman-Hillard (in the UK), offer internships but it is also worth contacting some of the smaller, more boutique PR agencies.
Another way of gaining much needed experience is by volunteering to help a not for profit organisation with their PR. Some of these organisations will advertise for PR volunteers on their websites and on volunteer sites and are always grateful for any support.