A career as a public relations officer can involve celebrities, corporates, or even political parties.
Coordinating product / movie launches organizing swanky parties events covered by a battery of reporters and photo journalists and managing celebrities! The role of public relations officers (also known as PR personnel) seems glamorous. However, in reality the profession of public relations (PR) is one that involves immense hard work and long hours.
Corporate houses, political parties and celebrities have all recognized the importance of good press coverage. Most well known celebrities have their own public relations teams not only to get maximum coverage but also to handle the media in times of crisis. There have been recent incidents where PR personnel have worked frantically to cover up the tainted reputations and scandals concerning celebrities. Most corporate houses either have their own corporate communication managers or hire a public relations company to maintain and build their reputations in the market.
Personality plays an important part in making a good PR officer. A PR officer needs to be polite and should be able to deal with pressure and provocation.
A good sense of humor helps. Other qualities needed to succeed in this field include an analytical mind, excellent communication skills and the ability to work with and understand the requirements of a range of different personalities. Multi tasking is an important ability PR officers will need to handle several events simultaneously. The work brief could include organizing press conferences, exhibitions and even lectures.
We look for graduates preferably in mass communication. Having said that, it takes more than a degree to make a mark. A PG degree is good, but not essential. A career in PR cannot be determined only by excellent mark. Employers look for the ability to gather news, excellent communication skills a sound knowledge of different subjects. The difference between an average PR officer and an excellent one is networking skills and the ability to accept challenges.
PR personnel are as good as his/her contact list. It’s vital that a PR professional has contacts across media houses and has updated information on which reporter handles which beat at his /her fingertips.
Starting out >>>
An internship preferably with a well known PR firms, is recommended. No matter how much one has learnt in class. There is no alternative to on the job training. It’s vital that a student should receive some form of training prior to joining the industry. In fact, it is a criterion for most PSUs.
A day in the life:
There is no such thing as a normal day in the life of a PR person. In fact, professionals state that this is one of the biggest challenges of the field. There are no fixed working hours since the job profile is very dynamic. No two situations will be alike and innovative solutions need to devise in a flash of a second. One might need to arrange for a press conference at a very short notice and elaborately planned events might not click due to unforeseen incidents.
One’s income depends upon the city and the agency one is working with. Most freshers start with Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 a month, which can rise to Rs 50,000 per month within four to five years. There is also the option of opening one’s own agency after gaining considerable experience. In this case Assignments charges can vary from Rs 5000 to a few lakh.
Institutes across the country offer degree as well as diploma courses in PR.
1) Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.
2) Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
3) Jamia Mila Islamia , New Delhi.
4) Directorate of Distance learning Education, Annamalai Nagar. Tamil Nadu University of Mumbai.