Public relations

Public relations is all about reputation management, whether it’s the reputation of an individual, a brand or an entire organisation. It’s a career which requires excellent communication skills, an interest in media and public opinion, and the ability to work under pressure.

Types of job

Examples of job titles for graduate roles:

  • Public Relations Assistant
  • PR Account Executive
  • Communications Assistant
  • Junior Media Relations Manager
  • Online Marketing Assistant
  • Digital Account Officer
  • Social Media Assistant

Although these roles might not have ‘PR’ in the title they all have a PR focus – communicating with clients, audiences, managing reputations and getting across the right message at the right time.

PR practitioners are employed by a range of organisations including PR agencies; in-house departments; as well as public, professional and voluntary organisations.

Typical duties include answering enquiries from individuals, journalists and organisations; preparing press releases and articles; organising press briefings, conferences, exhibitions, receptions, tours; writing and editing in-house journals; creating and maintaining useful contacts; planning and initiating PR campaigns.

To hear more about what it is like working in a PR agency watch 'Is PR right for you?'. This talk was delivered by Ked Mather and BA Drama and English alumna Leah Fullalove from MWWPR.

Entry routes

The majority of jobs are entry-level roles, either in-house for a company or with an agency who is contracted out to clients. There are select few employers who have graduate schemes. For more information check TARGETJobs: How do I get a graduate job in Public Relations? 

Although postgraduate qualifications aren’t essential, it can be useful if you haven't studied a related subject at undergraduate level. You can find a list of accredited qualifications on Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Both CIPR and Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) also offer other professional training and development. 

Getting experience

Speculative applications are one of the most effective ways of getting experience in PR. Use the member directories on the PRCA website to identify companies to contact. 

A lot of junior PR posts consist mainly of writing; contributing to the student newspaper, doing the publicity for a student society, proofreading or blogging will enhance your chances of getting your first PR role.

Search for PR opportunities on Careers Connect, and keep an eye out for our bespoke internship opportunities in our careers newsletter. Attend careers fairs and network with employers when they’re on campus. Find out about these events and workshops by visiting our events pages

You may consider becoming a student member of the CIPR. Membership is reasonable and enables you to register on their job site, and access other training, networking events and relevant resources.

As a PR professional, your job will be to manage the reputation of your organisation or clients. This means it’s imperative that you demonstrate the ability to manage your own reputation effectively. Create a LinkedIn profile and make sure you’re on social media. Build your network on LinkedIn by joining groups – or setting up a group if there isn’t one already – and participating in online discussions.

The University of Birmingham offers work experience bursaries for any student in their first, second or penultimate year of study. For more details visit the internship funding pages.

A strong awareness of the media, and understanding the latest news is vital. Check the news and campaigns sections of different agencies and professional bodies. Experts recommend reading articles and noting who the journalist is - you could follow or connect on social media to build relationships in the industry.

Finding a job or internship

If there’s a particular PR company you want to work for, the best place to find out if there are vacancies is on their website. If you’re open to who you work for then the main websites for PR jobs are:

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