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So you want to work in Public Relations?

Public relations is the practice of shaping public opinion and getting attention. Its tools include advertising, public affairs forums, publicity and lobbying public officials.

Mostly however it is about placing carefully crafted stories in the media and getting radio, newspapers and television to accept messages or stories sourced from PR agencies. This gives the illusion that the client’s message is the product of unbiased journalism rather than advertising (with which consumers are more familiar and resistant).

Thanks to strong demand for communication professionals who can manage a range of organisational responsibilities, the Australian public relations industry is seeing a continued period of growth A study by IBISworld detailed the projected changes the industry is likely to see in coming years. According to the study, the public relations sector is seeing significant expansion and will grow by an estimated 5 per cent between 2010 and 2015. This growth has meant that both profits and revenue for PR firms have increased, with companies seeing a substantial increase in demand for these services.

The ease of communication that comes with the growth of digital media, and the ability to sway a large audience online means that PR staff will continue to play a valuable role in shaping online communication and engagement.

With the communications and PR landscape continuing to grow and evolve, the demand for communications specialists with the right skill set is likely to keep growing into the future.

Types of jobs in the Public Relations industry include:

  • Director of public relations
  • Corporate communications specialist
  • Communications representative
  • Communications coordinator
  • Communications director
  • Communications editor

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Public Relations industry:

  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills
  • Confident speaking and excellent listening skills
  • Sensitivity to subtle nuances in language and culture
  • The ability appreciate other people’s priorities and pressures
  • Excellent research skills

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • Public relations interviews are essentially presentations. Engage the interviewers and get them interested in what you have to say. Your presentation is your own personal PR so show them what you’ve got!
  • Make sure you fit solid content into your interview. Don’t use clichés, unnecessary expressions, or overextended statements. Make sure your sentences are well-structured and organized. Don’t answer any question off the cuff. Think about everything you say and pause or ask for clarification when needed.
  • Dress with style and don’t give the impression that you’re too casual.
  • Research the potential employer as much as you can. Learn about their philosophy, their clients and their operations. Make them think they were your first choice.