Public relations assistants help promote the public reputation and image of an organisation, company or individual. The role is often a first step for those wishing to pursue a career in the public relations industry. The role of a PR assistant includes writing press releases, attending press conferences and building relationships with media professionals.
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Santa Rosa Junior College in California looks for those with an associate degree, with preference given to candidates with a degree in journalism, public relations or mass communications. Gaining practical experience in the industry, such as through an internship or work placement during college, is also important when trying to secure work. Some employers, such as the Miami Council for International Visitors, hire PR assistants on an internship basis while studying a related course.
The ability to work well under pressure and toward strict deadlines is essential in the public relations industry. Public relations assistants should be computer literate with good spelling, grammar and punctuation. The career information website Prospects notes that excellent organizational and time-management skills and the ability to multitask are important to the job role.
The role of a PR assistant varies depending on the size of the organisation and the level of responsibility given to an assistant. Miami Council for International Visitors lists typical duties as drafting press releases, creating informational material, research and maintaining media lists and editorial calendars and updating the company website. Many PR assistants also make press cuttings of stories that have made it to print, answer inquires from members of the media and write in-house magazine articles.
The salary range of a PR assistant can vary depending upon a number of factors such as experience, the organisation, location and level of responsibility. According to Indeed, the average annual salary of a public relations assistant in July 2010 was £31,850. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many in the public relations industry often work 35- to 40-hour weeks and overtime is common.
The BLS predicts that employment in this industry will grow by 24 per cent through 2018, which is much faster than in other occupations. The BLS reports that employment in public relations firms may increase as organisations hire contractors to manage public relations instead of hiring full-time staff. Those with a degree in a related subject, and who complete a public relations internship, should enjoy the most positive employment prospects.
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