Within the pages of Hofstra University’s web site lives a list of “possible professions in public relations,” designed to give readers a sense of the many options they’d have after earning a PR degree. Several colleagues and I recently examined the list, agreed it was reasonably thorough, but wondered if those seeking an introduction to the field would understand what these job categories actually mean.
For example, while “reputation management” or “sports information” might be somewhat self-explanatory, “corporate social responsibility” or “investor relations” might not. I often need to describe the differences between corporate and agency PR, what a lobbyist does, and how community and government relations demand further definition than what may seem obvious.
The thing is this: You could look at the list and exclaim, “That’s what I want to do!” You might envision yourself employed in sports or entertainment PR because it would mean you’d never have to deal with boring stuff like thought leadership, or creating graphics, or monitoring social media. You couldn’t be more wrong.
The beauty and excitement of a PR career is how you often find yourself doing multiple jobs; you might plan a glamorous Fashion Week event while also working with essential government, security and safety officials– and at the same time pitching stories to reporters after you’ve crafted effective press releases. You may find yourself creating compelling online content about the people helped by your nonprofit agency, while simultaneously supporting its fundraising efforts through targeted newsletters you’ve emailed to supporters and potential donors.
The web site’s list–while not completely comprehensive–offers possible PR professions:
- Corporate PR
- Crisis Communication
- Agency PR
- Nonprofit PR
- Reputation management
- Community relations
- Media relations
- Government relations
- Entertainment/fashion/lifestyle PR
- Sports information
- Investor relations
- Environmental communication
- Faith-based PR
- Educational PR
- Consumer relations
- Business-to-business PR
- Corporate social responsibility
- International relations
Because all institutions need some form of PR services, opportunities are limitless. As a student, which of these appeal to you? Which raise questions for you? If you’re a PR practitioner, which of these have you done? And if PR’s not your thing, well, why not? Your thoughts?