Approximately 79,160 public relations and fund-raising managers are employed in the United States. While employment opportunities exist in every industry, jobs may be more plentiful with businesses that provide some type of service. Examples include health care—hospitals, clinics, medical equipment manufacturers; educational services—publishers or universities and colleges; professional, scientific, or technical services—financial institutions and planners, smartphone manufacturers, software developers, or laboratories. Public relations managers may need to relocate because many management track jobs at desirable companies are located in larger, more urban areas.
You will first need experience in lower-level public relations jobs before advancing to a managerial position. As an assistant, your duties may include updating databases, assembling media kits, or helping with the many details of a fund-raising event. With more experience, you may be given more responsibilities or assigned more prestigious accounts and projects.
To break into a public relations firm, visit your college career services office for job leads. In addition, many firms advertise job listings in newspapers and on Internet job boards.
Promotion to director of public relations or other executive positions within a company are common advancement routes for managers. To stay competitive, you may want to continue your education, either with a master's degree in public relations or business administration.
Another advancement possibility includes moving to a company with a larger public relations budget and staff, and possibly higher compensation. Some experienced managers may opt to start their own public relations firm, or work as a public relations consultant on a freelance basis.
Advancement may be accelerated by participating in advanced training programs sponsored by industry and trade associations or by enrolling in continued education programs at colleges and universities. Firms sometimes offer tuition reimbursement for these programs. Managers committed to improving their knowledge of the field and of related disciplines—especially computer information systems—will have the best opportunities for advancement.
Read Public Relations Journal, Strategies & Tactics, and the Issues & Trends Daily E-Newsletter (all available at https://www.prsa.org/publications-and-news) and visit the Resources section of the IABC's Web site (https://www.iabc.com/resources/) to learn more about the field.
For job listings, visit:
Visit https://apps.prsa.org/Network/FindAFirm/Search for a database of PR firms.
Attend the PRSA International Conference to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.
Talk to public relations managers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.