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What are some of the careers I can choose? I'm a PR student but don't want to work in an agency.

My major is public relations and I've worked at a couple of agencies that specialize in PR, digital marketing, and advertising. As I gained industry experiences, I realized that agency work is probably not a good fit for me. I do like the creative, fast-paced, everyday-is-not-the-same part of the agency life, but I find myself more drawn to the idea of social justice. In my free time, I always read on and participate in social justice activities.

That being said, I'm looking for a profession that's less money-driven, but I'm not privileged enough to not consider money; that's equally as fast-paced as agencies; that provide a sense of fulfillment, knowing that my job is making the world a better place. In addition, if the job welcomes creativity, that'd be perfect.

I'm good at relationship building, communication, research, and presentation. Consulting seems to be a glamourous career, but doesn't that require excellent math skills? (I'm not bad at it though, I just don't like it.)

I've been feeling lost and helpless since Covid-19, and am getting more and more anxious each day about which career path I should pursue. Your advice is greatly appreciated!

#mentoring #publicrelations #career #careerpath #socialjustice #business #consulting #careercounseling #job #jobsearch

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

Faye public affairs professionals develop and manage programs, policies and protocols for initiatives that serve the public interest. Public affairs covers a broad range of activities in government, business and social services, giving you a wide variety of choices for employment. Public affairs specialists are required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Some employers may prefer applicants with a master's degree. To reach the role of director these professionals also need several years of experience in public relations. Public affairs specialists job duties might entail coordinating and publicizing community outreach events or representing an organization at conferences and other community functions. Public affairs specialists may also be responsible for projecting a positive image of an organization via print, broadcast or online media.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS ASSISTANTS NECESSARY SKILLS
A large portion of their job duties may include researching, writing and editing public policy statements, speeches, press releases or newscasts designed to promote an organization's services or address matters of concern for the community. Public affairs specialists might also be responsible for proofreading marketing materials or updating an organization's website to announce news and current events. When an organization is contacted by the media, public affairs assistants could also be asked to serve as contacts. Public affairs specialists need strong oral and written communication skills. Employers may also look for applicants who are familiar with AP style, word processing software and, in some cases, design software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Access. Additional requirements could include strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and work under deadlines.

EMPLOMEMT OUTLOOK & SALARY
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't report an employment outlook for public affairs specialists, it does project a 6% job growth for public relations specialists over the 2018-2028 decade. These professionals perform many of the same job duties as public affairs professionals, and the increasing use of social media could drive job growth for these specialists in much the same way as it's expected to lead to new job opportunities for public relations specialists. The average Public Affairs Specialists salary in the United States is $75,750 as of August 27, 2020, but the salary range typically falls between $61,000 and $92,250. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Faye
Thank you comment icon Thank You Mandeep. Only by giving are we able to receive more than we already have. John Frick
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Brigitte’s Answer

Hi there! Fellow PR professional here. Agency life isn't for everyone, and that's ok! Every organization needs good, strong communicators. It's essential for strong business. The beauty about PR is that you can pursue any industry you want. Think about what industry you are passionate about and go for it. Do you love health and wellness? Maybe hospital communications and media relations is the place for you. Love travel? Think hotels, resorts, parks, etc. You said you find yourself drawn to social justice - look into the campaigns or organizations that fuel your passion. BLM, the Trevor Project, and a variety of other non-profit organizations need the help of PR professionals and may have exactly what you are looking for.

I also went the corporate route rather than agency and it has been the best decision I've ever made.

If your college has a chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I highly recommend getting involved. They can help you make connections in the industry and explore the many options available to you. As a former Chapter President, I can not speak highly enough of this organization. It has shaped my entire career. While PRSSA asks that you pay membership dues, many Chapter allow you to listen in on meetings and join networking events without being a dues-paying member.

I hope this helps. Good luck, Faye!
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Brigitte’s Answer

Hi there! Fellow PR professional here. Agency life isn't for everyone, and that's ok! Every organization needs good, strong communicators. It's essential for strong business. The beauty about PR is that you can pursue any industry you want. Think about what industry you are passionate about and go for it. Do you love health and wellness? Maybe hospital communications and media relations is the place for you. Love travel? Think hotels, resorts, parks, etc. You said you find yourself drawn to social justice - look into the campaigns or organizations that fuel your passion. BLM, the Trevor Project, and a variety of other non-profit organizations need the help of PR professionals and may have exactly what you are looking for.

I also went the corporate route rather than agency and it has been the best decision I've ever made.

If your college has a chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I highly recommend getting involved. They can help you make connections in the industry and explore the many options available to you. As a former Chapter President, I can not speak highly enough of this organization. It has shaped my entire career. While PRSSA asks that you pay membership dues, many Chapter allow you to listen in on meetings and join networking events without being a dues-paying member.

I hope this helps. Good luck, Faye!
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Gessie’s Answer

Perfectly all natural feelings to feel. PR in light of COVID is a wonderful time to get and or be in PR ....why because it crosses all industries. Now more than ever agencies, companies, for profits, non-profits all are leaning on their communications and PR team to help tell their story. With COVID-19 and the Black Lives Movement people now more than ever people want to know who is behind every brand or business. Who essentially is in the kitchen making their food so to speak. Keep pushing young one. Perfect your craft and be intentional about your ability to craft a compelling message that is true and that can tug at any heart. Appreciate your question and wish you all the best. Onward and upward.

Gessie recommends the following next steps:

Look at any company whose mission you align with and see if they have a communications or a PR vacancy and start applying
Read, read read
Write
Watch movies....great illustration of story telling
Practice perfecting a compelling story on many topics and industries
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Rita’s Answer

Hello!

You have the right skills to join consulting! There are different types of consultants out there each requiring different skill sets (e.g. design, quantitate & qualitative analysis, presentation).

I started my career in consulting and most of my assignments were more research and presentation focused than quantitate. When you join a consulting firm, you go through a training program to help build your "consulting" skillset and learn about various industries. You are usually placed on a team of consultants with varying skill sets to complement on another; one person might be good at research and the other might have good analytical skills. A big part of consulting is being able to build relationships with your team and mainly your clients. Most consulting firms consult with public (government entities & NGOs) and private sector companies. I would recommend that you look into public sector consulting as that might be more fulfilling for you.

Good luck!


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Spencer’s Answer

Hi there! I'm currently a software consultant, but my client is a large advertising agency. I admire your drive and candid comments on how money isn't your main motivator, but you want to be fulfilled in what you're doing.

As someone who is only 2 years into their professional career after multiple jobs/internships in college, I still don't find myself particularly intrigued by all aspects of consulting. My advice to you is to try as many things as you can, but stick to your guns and go after what you enjoy doing. From experience, I can say that doing either what you're good at, or what you love to do yields the best results.

Best of luck!

Spencer

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Andrea’s Answer

This is a great time to break into the Public Relations field because so many companies are really putting time, effort and money into how they are helping communities and how they are perceived. Most companies, will have someone handling their public relations, but the bigger companies may have larger teams that handle different types of public relations, whether it is the marketing/ads, crisis management, statements or strategy. I would encourage you to research companies, specifically bigger public companies, where you really believe in what they are talking about and where they are moving. Once you have a list, use your network to see what is available and apply to those. Good luck!
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Edie’s Answer

Faye, have you considered roles in the not-for-profit sector? Prior to my current work, I was an executive director for a non-profit and there were a number of insights I gained about work in that sector that many have not considered. For example, many assume not-for-profit means no budget. There are a number of non-profit organizations out there that have multi-million dollar budgets (think Boy/Girl Scouts, Cancer Society, etc.) and they need someone to be their voice to the public. These roles often are titled "Development" instead of PR because it's about developing their base for giving, events to raise funds, etc. The skills often include event planning, grant writing, public awareness raising... all sound like a fit from what you mentioned.

Secondly, I encourage you to not put too much pressure on yourself to hit the nail on the head right out of the gate. While I started out majoring in Deaf Education, I've done lobbying work, not-for-profit management, Human Resources, and Learning and Development. All of these within varying industries. My career, which is nearly over, has been highly successful and I've truly enjoyed the broad spectrum of experiences I've gained. So use some of your creativity to think of where you'd like to make an impact and look for roles like Communications, Relations, Marketing, etc. that fit your skills moreso than your degree title. You'll find the paths will open wide and you won't have to stick just to an agency.

Best of luck!
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