Public relations practitioners/officer provide communication services to organisations by giving advice to management, planning and implementing communication activities and evaluating their effectiveness.
There are a number of fields that require the services of a Public Relations Officer, which makes this career very interesting. Some of the fields are :-
1.Corporate Sector – shows that there is more to a particular organisation than merely making money; the activities and attitudes are portrayed as being beneficial and friendly towards the public.
2.Government – deals with informing the public about the government’s schemes and activities and showing the overall benefit of these projects to society at large
3.Pressure Groups/Causes/Lobbies – This is possibly the most difficult area to work in, but the most fulfilling since it deals with particular groups of society or organisations that have been built with a cause to improve society in some way or the other. It is a relatively new area in India and demands dedication and extensive knowledge about the cause being fought for such as child labour, women’s’ issues, the environment, political ideology and so on. The work involves making the public aware of the issues through public programmes, fund-raising, charity shows, so that people are inspired to change and in-turn help convince the policy-makers
4.Products – involves creating a good image of the product before it is launched to ensure that consumers, retailers, distributors are enticed by it.
5.Public Personalities – This is probably the most glamorous of all the PR jobs since it deals with building and enhancing an image of well-known people such as politicians, sports people, musicians, actors/ actresses, writers etc.
6.Public Sector – aims to show and prove to the policy-makers and common person that the public money is being spent in a worthwhile manner
7.Schemes/ Projects – this involves informing the community being catered to or the organisation’s employees about new schemes to reduce their apprehension towards change, answer any queries and show the overall benefit of these projects
8.Tourism/Hospitality Industry – quite an important field since the image projected will determine or influence people’s attitudes.
Public Relations Officers are usually university graduates. A few universities offer degree courses in Public Relations.
Graduates in other areas such as social sciences are employed by Public Relations Department.
All newcomers to the profession are trainees doing on-the-job training.
However, at some junior positions, certificates or diplomas in Communications are acceptable qualifications.
Public relations officers work for a variety of organisations such as large industrial or commercial firms, tertiary institutions, industry groups, retail outlets, financial institutions, charitable organisations and insurance firms.
There is strong competition for any positions offered in this field, but people with experience or formal educational qualifications are generally in demand.