Public Relations (PR)

PR (public relations) is all about building, managing and protecting the reputation of your organisation and people. PR provide the narrative, often a positive one, and third parties will be used to influence public opinion to establish a positive impression of the organisation.

Explore job roles

Typically PR staff liaise with the media and answer their questions, write press releases, organise events such as press conferences, undertake research, and manage social media. Long working hours and tight deadlines are the norm. Starting salaries tend to be quite low, but there can be good progression opportunities for those who prove themselves.

Roles tend to be based either in PR agencies or in the communications department of large organisations, although smaller organisations may employ someone in a PR or media relations role.

A few large PR agencies and large organisations have graduate schemes in PR and communications, but most agencies and organisations recruit graduates into entry-level roles at any time of the year as need arises. PR agencies can be either large 'full-service' agencies, covering all sectors, or smaller agencies specialising in a particular sector, e.g. financial PR, music or public affairs. In larger communications agencies PR professionals may work alongside marketing, advertising and digital media specialists, and boundaries between these roles are often blurred.

Use the job profiles below to find out about, skills, entry routes and experience

Building skills and experience

PR is a competitive field, so relevant experience is important.

Gain relevant skills and experience while you study

Use the job profiles above to check which skills are normally needed for the roles you are interested in.

Use our transferable skills pages to explore ways to gain the top skills employers are looking for

  • Try to get any work experience you can in PR. Few internship vacancies are advertised so consider speculative applications and work shadowing. Recruiters see work experience as evidence for a strong interest and commitment to PR and sometimes it can lead to the offer of a graduate job.
  • Volunteer for a local charity to get relevant experience planning events, writing press releases and articles and contacting the press.
  • Start networking to build contacts: Attend events, read and comment on PR blogs, follow PR professionals on social media and join a professional body.
  • Immerse yourself in the media - print, broadcast and online. Familiarise yourself with different sections of newspapers, TV and radio programmes and blogs, websites and social media.
  • Find opportunities to develop and demonstrate your writing, interpersonal and presentation skills, for example, by starting a blog, writing for a student newspaper or becoming a student ambassador.
  • Develop your social media skills and build your own brand. PR professionals use social media extensively to communicate with their audiences, employers expect graduates to bring social media knowledge and experience to their role. Employers will often check out your social media presence as part of the recruitment process.

Finding and applying for jobs

It is advisable to use multiple job hunting strategies including networking, using LinkedIn and social media and not rely solely on vacancies.

Find vacancies

Further resources

Next steps

When planning your next steps you may have additional questions or want to explore certain aspects in more detail: