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Career profile Public Relations Specialist

Also known as Communications Specialist, Corporate Communications Specialist, Media Relations Specialist, Public Affairs Specialist, Public Information Officer, Public Information Specialist, Public Relations Coordinator (PR Coordinator), Public Relations Specialist (PR Specialist)

Public Relations Specialist

Also known as Communications Specialist, Corporate Communications Specialist, Media Relations Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Artistic
  • Social
Pay Range
$35,350 - $118,210 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing
Knowledge Areas
  • Communications and Media
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Respond to requests for information from the public, other municipalities, state officials, or state and federal legislative offices.
  • Write press releases or other media communications to promote clients.
  • Establish or maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, or public interest groups.
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What does a Public Relations Specialist do?

Public Relations Specialists promote or create an intended public image for individuals, groups, or organizations.

In addition, Public Relations Specialists

  • may write or select material for release to various communications media,
  • may specialize in using social media.

What kind of tasks does a Public Relations Specialist perform regularly?

Public Relations Specialists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Respond to requests for information from the public, other municipalities, state officials, or state and federal legislative offices.
  • Write press releases or other media communications to promote clients.
  • Establish or maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, or public interest groups.
  • Plan or direct development or communication of programs to maintain favorable public or stockholder perceptions of an organization's accomplishments, agenda, or environmental responsibility.
  • Study the objectives, promotional policies, or needs of organizations to develop public relations strategies that will influence public opinion or promote ideas, products, or services.
  • Coach client representatives in effective communication with the public or with employees.
  • Update and maintain content posted on the Web.
  • Confer with other managers to identify trends or key group interests or concerns or to provide advice on business decisions.
  • Prepare or edit organizational publications, such as employee newsletters or stockholders' reports, for internal or external audiences.
  • Coordinate public responses to environmental management incidents or conflicts.
  • Arrange public appearances, lectures, contests, or exhibits for clients to increase product or service awareness or to promote goodwill.
  • Develop plans or materials to communicate organizational activities that are beneficial to the environment, public safety, or other important social issues.
  • Prepare or deliver speeches to further public relations objectives.
  • Confer with production or support personnel to produce or coordinate production of advertisements or promotions.
  • Consult with advertising agencies or staff to arrange promotional campaigns in all types of media for products, organizations, or individuals.

The above responsibilities are specific to Public Relations Specialists. More generally, Public Relations Specialists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

What is a Public Relations Specialist salary?

The median salary for a Public Relations Specialist is $62,810, and the average salary is $71,940. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Public Relations Specialist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Public Relations Specialists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Public Relations Specialists earn less than $35,350 per year, 25% earn less than $46,630, 75% earn less than $85,380, and 90% earn less than $118,210.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Public Relations Specialists is expected to change by 11.4%, and there should be roughly 29,200 open positions for Public Relations Specialists every year.

Median annual salary
$62,810
Typical salary range
$35,350 - $118,210
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
11.4%

What personality traits are common among Public Relations Specialists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Public Relations Specialist are usually higher in their Enterprising, Artistic, and Social interests.

Public Relations Specialists typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Public Relations Specialists typically have strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Lastly, Public Relations Specialists typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Public Relations Specialist tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Public Relations Specialists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Public Relations Specialists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Public Relations Specialists strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Public Relations Specialists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, attention to detail, and persistence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Public Relations Specialists, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Public Relations Specialists need?

Many Public Relations Specialists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Public Relations Specialists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Public Relations Specialists

  • 0.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 3.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 8.4% completed some college coursework
  • 4.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 56.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 22.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 4.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Public Relations Specialists

Public Relations Specialists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as communications and media, sales and marketing, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Public Relations Specialists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Public Relations Specialists

Public Relations Specialists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Public Relations Specialists need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and written expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Public Relations Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Public Relations Specialists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Public Relations Specialists frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and writing to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Public Relations Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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