Public Relations Careers: Options, Job Titles, and Descriptions

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Public relations refers to the relationship between a company and the public. People working in public relations (PR) help a company project a positive image to the public in order to achieve its goals. If you are interested in a career in this field, read on for more information about PR job titles, descriptions, and career tips.

What Exactly Is PR?

Instead of paying for ads like advertising professionals, public relations pros try to draw media attention to their clients. 

Their goal is for journalists to decide that there is a story worth covering about a client in the journalists' paper, magazine, website, or TV/radio program.

PR professionals try to gain publicity for the clients of a PR firm, or for the corporate communications department with a particular organization. 

The idea behind public relations is that attention will lead people to purchase a client's product, promote a company or individual's idea, or to support the client's position. People in public relations also help to build and maintain a client's reputation with the public. 

What Public Relations Professional Do

Public relations staffers get the job done by writing press releases, connecting key players at their client organization with the press for interviews, arranging press conferences and other events, composing web copy, and creating newsletters.

PR pros must have strong writing, verbal, and presentation skills; be well organized and detail oriented, and also be assertive and comfortable reaching out to others. Having a solid aptitude for marketing can also be very helpful.

Public Relations Job Titles

You can travel a full career path in PR, so you will see titles for apprentice and entry-level employees as well as for frontline staff, supervisors, managers, and specialty areas.

Below is a list of some of the most common job titles from the public relations industry, organized by category. For more information about each job title, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.

General Job Titles

Since public relations isn’t a licensed field, and draws professionals with many different backgrounds, there are job titles that you may not think of as relating strictly to PR. These can provide valuable experience as you pursue a successful PR career path, and will be attractive to hiring managers seeking public relations professionals.

  • Brand Ambassador
  • Chapter Relations Administrator
  • Content Manager
  • Content Strategist
  • Copy Writer
  • Director of Public Affairs
  • Director of Public Relations
  • Editor
  • Executive Assistant
  • Event Coordinator
  • Event Manager
  • Lobbyist
  • Manager
  • Manager, Digital and Social Media
  • Managing Editor
  • Media Director
  • New Media Coordinator
  • Program Coordinator
  • Public Affairs Manager
  • Public Affairs Specialist
  • Public Information Assistant
  • Public Information Officer
  • Public Information Specialist
  • Public Relations Coordinator
  • Public Relations Director
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Publicist
  • Relationship Manager
  • Social Media Analyst
  • Social Media Manager
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Technical Writer

Account Job Titles

PR account jobs involve managing business-to-business or business-to-client campaigns, attracting clients, and designing and implementing campaigns.

  • Account Director
  • Account Executive
  • Account Manager
  • Account Supervisor
  • Assistant Account Executive
  • Senior Account Executive

Communications Job Titles

PR communications jobs involve developing and maintaining the public image of a client or company through appearances, press releases, and social media.

  • Communications Coordinator
  • Communications Director
  • Communications Editor
  • Communications Representative
  • Communications Specialist
  • Corporate Communications Specialist
  • Director of Communications
  • Director of Strategic Communication
  • External Communications Manager
  • Internal Communications Specialist
  • Marketing Communications Director
  • Marketing Communications Manager
  • Media and Communications Manager

Development and Fundraising Job Titles

Public relations development focuses on designing and organizing events to raise money or awareness for an organization.

  • Development Director
  • Development Officer
  • Director of Development
  • Financial Public Relations Associate
  • Fundraising Manager
  • Major Gifts Officer

Marketing Job Titles

PR marketing involves maintaining a positive public image while developing promotions for products, and services for a company or organization.

  • Marketing Associate
  • Marketing Communications Director
  • Marketing Communications Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Marketing Director
  • Marketing Officer
  • Social Media Marketing Coordinator

Media Job Titles

PR media specialists develop and maintain positive relationships with media outlets, write press releases, and plan and oversee press events.

  • Manager, Digital and Social Media
  • Media and Communications Manager
  • Media Coordinator
  • Media Director
  • Media Relations Manager
  • New Media Coordinator
  • Social Media Specialist

How to Use Public Relations Job Titles

When you’re searching for a job, knowing the common job titles used in the industry can help you to do a more effective online job search. If you are looking for a public relations job but you aren’t familiar with the job titles, you may end up with blank searches when there are jobs available.

For public relations, you may also use the terms marketing, communications, media relations, development, and fundraising when searching for jobs in the field. Note that the field of public relations does not have a strict hierarchy, as it is not licensed and regulated.

If you’re an employer who wishes to update your employee's job titles to keep up with changing titles in the field, use the following list for ideas. You can also use it to screen applicants and judge whether they have past public relations experience that may not be obvious at first glance. For example, job titles like “Account Manager” or “Gifts Operator” might not appear to be related to public relations at first, but they are.

If you’re the only public relations employee at your company, you may be an associate, specialist, coordinator, manager, director, and executive all rolled up into one. Use this list to consider whether or not you should ask your employer for a new job title that better reflects your responsibilities.

Even if public relations is only part of your job, you may wish to ask for an appropriate title that you can list on your resume. You may be both an executive assistant and director of social media, for example.

Tips for Starting a Career in Public Relations

College students who want a career in public relations can prepare for entry into the field by doing some or all of the following:

  • Consider completing writing-intensive majors such as English, Journalism, Communications or Marketing.
  • Develop and promote a blog on a topic of interest.
  • Develop and document your writing/communication credentials by working for campus newspapers, magazines, and TV stations.
  • Work as a public relations coordinator for campus organizations.
  • Land a student job in offices where the college is promoted or events are organized, such as the college's media relations/communications department, sports information office, admissions, events, or alumni affairs offices.
  • Pursue positions with student clubs where you can organize concerts, speakers, fashion shows, and other events.
  • Conduct informational interviews with PR professionals through alumni/family contacts and professionals in your home area.
  • Ask professionals whether you can job shadow them during school breaks.
  • Complete internships with PR firms, communication departments, media outlets and/or marketing firms. Contact small local firms near your school or home through local chambers of commerce, as well as targeting big-name firms.
  • Join the Public Relations Student Society of America to learn more about the field, identify mentors and internships,and to demonstrate your professional interest.
  • Consider starting your career with a paid post-graduate internship.
  • Build up your public relations skills.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about public relations in job interviews.

By preparing in these ways you'll distinguish yourself from the competition and lay the foundation for a rewarding career in public relations. It’ll also help to review these public relations interview questions before you start interviewing for potential PR jobs.

Key Takeaways

PR professionals help clients get positive attention. This can involve reaching out to the media, hosting events, promoting the client on social media, and more.

Job titles lists can help employers and employees. Use the list to help you target your search. Or use it when reviewing resumes to see whether candidates' job titles are related to the field. 

A wide range of skills are useful in PR. The list includes communication skills, along with attention to detail.