A degree in public relations equips you with the strong communication and promotional skills needed to manage the reputation of important clients and influence media opinion
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Advertising account executive
- Advertising copywriter
- Event manager
- Marketing executive
- Media researcher
- Public affairs consultant
- Public relations officer
- Sales promotion account executive
- Social media manager
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Broadcast journalist
- Charity fundraiser
- Personal assistant
- Policy officer
- Politician's assistant
- PPC specialist
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
PR is a competitive field to get into and pre-entry experience in PR, communications, marketing and media is highly desirable.
Take advantage of any work placements on your course to develop your skills and knowledge, and to build a network of contacts for future potential opportunities.
You could look for internships or work placements with PR agencies working on behalf of many clients or with organisations with a strong brand image in industries such as fashion, cars and beauty.
Paid work experience can be hard to find, so volunteering in a PR or related role with a charity, for example, is also a good way to prove your ability and strengthen employment applications. There may also be opportunities with university societies to get involved with planning events, writing press releases and contacting media outlets.
The PR industry is fast paced and always looking for talented graduates. Try to find work experience opportunities with a variety of companies. You'll gain different experiences of client representation and learn industry protocols, including communicating with the media, managing client issues, developing brand image and the most important aspect of PR - protecting the client's reputation.
Typical employers include PR consultancies, which provide an independent service to several client organisations, often working with very different market sectors. Consultancies vary in size, from large international firms with offices throughout the world to small local firms who may specialise in a specific area such as fashion, beauty, music, sport, healthcare or finance. Larger consultancies are likely to have a wider client base, ranging from law firms to builders' merchants.
You could also work for an in-house department, working exclusively for one company or organisation in the public, private, charity and not-for-profit sectors.
Other employers of PR graduates include:
- advertising firms and creative agencies
- event organisers
- marketing agencies
- media communication organisations
- political organisations
- public affairs companies.
It's also possible to use your skills in wider communication roles in areas such as HR, education, management and public service.
Skills for your CV
Studying public relations gives you professional knowledge and practical skills in client management, media communication and ethical practice.
Identifying your achievements from work experience opportunities or assignments could help you match your relevant skills and strengths for specific roles and types of clients.
Employers will be looking for skills and potential in areas including:
- communication skills - strong written, oral, visual and presentation ability
- managing pressure - dealing with issues and crises
- event and project skills - planning, managing and leading a public relations function
- technology skills - understanding how to use social media channels and technology for PR
- business awareness - knowing how business and PR work together effectively
- media skills - having the ability to communicate with journalists and broadcasters while managing a client's reputation
- organisation skills - managing your own and client schedules.
Some graduates go on to study for a Masters degree in public relations or related areas such as international public relations, global communications management, strategic communications and corporate communications. These courses enable graduates to look in depth at the role of PR in business, politics or client management.
Professional courses accredited by professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) are useful for career development. Courses are available at different levels and in different areas of PR. Taking CIPR qualifications forms part of the process for gaining Chartered PR Practitioner status with the CIPR.
Through further study you can develop industry contacts and networks. This is an important part of progressing your PR career.
For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search for postgraduate courses in public relations.
What do public relations graduates do?
Four in five graduates are employed in the UK six months after graduation. Two fifths of these become marketing associate and public relations professionals.
|Working and studying||3.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Marketing, PR and sales||55.2|
|Retail, catering and bar work||12.2|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||8.2|
|Business, HR and financial||6.4|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.