Public relations managers job description. The goal of public relations managers is to generate positive publicity and create a favorable impression of their client or employer among the public. To accomplish this, they may write press releases and contact media outlets to propose stories that will portray their company in a positive light. They sometimes sponsor corporate or charitable events to boost awareness and improve public opinion of the company.
Other duties of public relations managers include addressing misinformation or negative opinions by clarifying the company’s viewpoint to their main constituency. They may also monitor political, economic and social trends that could affect the organization, and provide recommendations as to how that information can be used to enhance the company’s image. Some public relations managers oversee internal communications such as company newsletters or intranet sites, and they may work with a company’s finance department on annual reports and other investor relations. Speechwriting, arranging interviews and overseeing a company’s social media presence may also fall under a public relations manager’s responsibilities.
In many cases, public relations managers specialize in a particular industry, such as healthcare or computers, or in a specific area, such as crisis management. They often work closely with a company’s marketing and advertising teams to ensure their promotional efforts are aligned with the company’s desired public image.
Public Relations Manager Job Summary
- Heavy competition is expected for public relations manager positions.
- Those with a college degree and related experience and skills should have the best job opportunities.
- Public relations managers often work long hours and are required to travel for business; but in return, they typically enjoy high salaries.
Work Environment for Public Relations Managers
Public relations managers typically work in corporate offices in close proximity to top managers. Job stress and pressure may occur due to deadlines, schedule changes and problems that may arise, but goals must still be met. Travel is often required to meet with clients and with media representatives, or to host off-site events. Many public relations managers work over 40 hours a week, including weekends and evenings.
Education, Training and Licensing
Most companies prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's in communications or master’s degree in public relations, journalism or marketing. To prepare for a public relations manager career, students should take courses in business administration, public speaking, creative and technical writing, public affairs, political science and advertising. Other helpful classes include economics, finance, accounting, statistics, mathematics, business law and management. Because competition is tight in this field, many students seek paid or unpaid internships to hone their skills and acquire the necessary work experience.
Public relations managers need to have excellent computer skills for writing reports, preparing speeches and conducting other forms of communication. In addition, the ability to speak a foreign language is an advantage, as many companies have a presence abroad or wish to appeal to Spanish-speaking populations within the U.S.
Those interested in entering public relations should be highly motivated, flexible, decisive, creative, mature and resistant to stress. Persuasion skills are an asset for communicating with the public, staff and other managers. Other qualities that a public relations manager should have include good judgment, tact and the ability to establish solid interpersonal relationships.
While certification is not mandatory or widespread, some public relations managers choose to pursue a credential for a competitive advantage. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) offers the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential.
Public Relations Job Projections, Outlook and Salaries
Public relations managers held about 53,270 jobs in May 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which noted that nearly half of all public relations managers were employed in service-providing industries.
The BLS projects that employment in this field will grow 13% between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Much of this growth will be driven by nonprofit organizations, such as education services, hospitals, and business and professional associations.
BLS records indicate that the median annual salary for public relations managers was $89,690 as of May 2009. The middle 50% of professionals earned between $64,820 and $125,220. While the lowest 10% had salaries at or under $47,800, the highest 10% earned in excess of $165,000 annually.