Week #3 – Should you work in a PR department or firm?

A new public relations practitioner who would like to have diverse functions and responsibilities should consider employment within a corporations in-house public relations department, where you are likely to gain experience and develop expertise in writing and monitoring blogs; employee, online and product communications; special events; community relations; marketing and advertising campaigns and media relations.

Skills learned in such an environment might include: research conducted through various means, the art of persuasion and negotiation for conflict resolution, and strategic and operational management to develop strategies for solving problems, develop goals and objectives for the department, prepare budgets as well as manage people.

Some advantages to working in a corporate PR department might be that it is slower paced, has less intense daily pressure with more resources and opportunities available.

Many corporations are turning to outsourcing  of services especially in the areas of writing and communications, which is my personal area of interest and developing expertise; media relations; publicity; strategy and planning; and event planning.

Public Relations or Communications firms, as they are now being called, can offer specialty areas of service that perhaps a PR department cannot, such as litigation public relations, crises management, labor, environmental, counseling, technology and health care. Therefore, if one desires to specialize in any one of these areas, finding employment in a firm would be more advantageous. 

Other advantages of working in a firm would be working in a fast-paced, highly productive environment with lots of variety while building credibility as a professional.

Another area to consider when trying to decide whether a firm or a corporate department is right for you, is how public relations firms get their business.  Firms generally are invited to make a presentation regarding their capabilities and how they could meet their client’s needs, after which the firm may or may not get the job, which may directly affect how busy you are and your employment security. Corporate in-house PR departments on the other hand, may be less competitive and offer more job security.

sources: www.sjsu.edu/people/dennis.wilcox, www.atomicpr.com

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