How To: Learn More About the Different Sectors of Public Relations

When I first decided to major in public relations, it seemed as though everyone asked me the same question, “Do you want to work in an agency or a corporation?”

Little did I know then that the job opportunities in public relations are far greater than those two options. Here are some great ways to learn the different career paths available within the industry:

Check Out PRSSA’s Career Manual

The Career Manual is a comprehensive document available on the PRSSA website that covers everything from how to prepare for interviews and create a portfolio, to how to effectively plan your collegiate career while taking advantage of PRSSA’s leadership opportunities.

To learn more about the different sectors in the industry, I encourage members to read the careers in public relations and salary sections in the document (pages 2-7 and 14-15, respectively). These sections serve as an excellent starting point in deciding what public relations sector to pursue an internship or entry-level position.

Spend a Day in the Life

The best way to get real, hands-on experience is by completing an internship. Interning will allow you to see if the work is the right fit for you, and if it is, the network you create while interning will open opportunities for you in the future. Don’t forget to utilize the PRSSA’s Internship Center during your search.

Shania Jackson, University of North Texas PRSSA Chapter president, interned for Toyota in Torrance, Cali. this summer. Even though Shania's dream job would be to work for Sephora or represent a celebrity, she decided to pursue her interest in automotive public relations.
Shania Jackson, University of North Texas PRSSA Chapter president, interned for Toyota in Torrance, Cali. this summer. Even though Shania’s dream job would be to work for Sephora or represent a celebrity, she decided to pursue her interest in automotive public relations.

If there’s a specific company you’d like to intern for that does not have openings, or if you do not have the time to commit to an internship, shadow opportunities are another way to learn more about a given sector.

“If an industry intrigues you but you aren’t sure if it’s the right fit, set up an informational interview with a PRSA member who works in that field,” said Heather Harder, PRSSA immediate past president.

Read the New PRSA Sections Series on Progressions

The PRSA Sections Series on Progressions will highlight the 14 different professional sections within PRSA. Launching in September 2015 and written by PRSA members of the sections themselves, these articles will give you insight into the work done by professionals in that field.

“PRSA Sections are great resources for public relations professionals, and I am excited for this series to increase their recognition,” Harder said. “I also hope this series will help students discover new industries they may not have considered.”

Finding your passion within public relations is a task well worth undertaking. As soon as you find what fuels you, you can start looking for internships and making connections in that particular field. And don’t be discouraged if it takes you a while to find what you’re interested in — or if it doesn’t happen during college. Your career is just beginning, and soon enough, you’ll have your own list of recommendations on how to find out what part of this industry speaks to you.

If you have any further questions about public relations careers or how PRSSA can help you plan for your future, contact Veronica Mingrone, PRSSA National vice president of career services, at vmingrone.prssa@gmail.com.

“Intern Talk” is a guest column produced by Veronica Mingrone, 2015–2016 vice president of career services. The column covers various aspects of the public relations industry, giving PRSSA members the tools to secure internships and make the most of their professional experiences. For more career resources, visit the PRSSA Career Manual and Internship Center.

Veronica is a senior public relations major at the University of Florida. Follow Veronica on Twitter @veronica_min or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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