5 Reasons Why You Should Consider PR as a Career/Major

Reasons why public relations is a good career choice:

1.) PR is flexible. PR people have their hands in journalism and advertising so when jobs are scarce, individuals with PR backgrounds have some experience in different fields so they will be able to expand their job search.

2.) PR has done well the past few years where other fields have not.

3.) In 2011, PR was said to be one of the best industries to start a business.

4.) Here are some career stats. These stats can give you a general idea about what you can expect to make in PR.

5.) Every industry needs PR. All businesses need PR (if they believe it or not) PR is the best way to enhance its reputation and the way it is seen in the public.

So there you have it, five reasons why you should consider PR as a career/major.

What Does a Public Relations Major Do?

Every time someone asks me what my major is, and I tell them public relations, I get one of  two responses:

1) A polite smile and head tilt, usually comes with a “how lovely” or “you’re so friendly, you’ll do so well in that!”
2) What the hell is public relations?

So, with my experiences in mind, I have come to the conclusion no one outside of public relations/journalism knows what public relations is or what public relations people do.

I’m going to do my best to inform everyone who was hopefully directed here by my awesome google friendly title what a PR major studies/learns (at least at the University of Florida).

tia

This is Tia, a 21 year old, University of Florida Sociology major, pondering one of life’s greatest questions: What do PR major actually learn? Photo by Calli Rathsam

1.) PR majors learn a lot of journalism. A LOT. I was almost a journalism major but decided on PR because I thought PR was similar to journalism without the writing of news articles.

I was wrong. Very very very very wrong.  If you’re interested in PR as a major, just be warned you’ll feel like a journalism major for a few semesters.

2.) PR majors learn ethics. At UF there is a class dedicated to ethics, and ethics are discussed in lecture during the PR intro class and have been brought up in every PR class I have taken so far.

tl;dr: Ethics are VERY important in PR.

3.)PR majors spend a lot of time trying to explain to people what PR is.  IF you work/study PR, the general public has no idea what you do/will do (I’m basing this claim on the fact I work the customer service desk at a retail store in Gainesville, and whenever someone tries to make small talk about what I study I have to spend a lot time explaining PR).

4.)One thing you will realize as a PR major is  businesses need PR. One reason why is for crisis management. PR people have to be prepared for the worse at all times. One never knows where or when disaster will strike. Whether you’re a PR person who works in image management, within a major corporation or within a nonprofit organization, crises are always around the corner.

5.) Reputation is everything. Businesses and people rely on their reputations to survive in the business world, and without PR people managing these reputations, you’re going to have a bad time in the public eye. BECAUSE you are a PR major, your reputation will be important. Don’t post anything regrettable online and everything else your mom/dad/teachers have warned you not to do on the internet.

So there you have it, a few hints as to what PR people/majors do and need to know. Clearly this isn’t everything, just a brief glimpse of what I think is important to know about PR.

PR Has a Bad Name

I have noticed that in each of the public relations classes I have taken, something along the line of  “public relations has a bad name” comes up and leaves me with a few questions:

1.)Why DOES PR have a bad name? Do people really believe PR professionals sit around all day coming up with lies and ways to trick/fool people?

2.)Do people think PR hasn’t evolved from what it once was? Such professions as doctors and lawyers have evolved in leaps and bounds, so why in the minds of the public, hasn’t PR?

3.) Do people really think about PR enough to HAVE opinions about it?

4.) The people who think PR  is full of evil and unethical people have clearly never seen the curriculum for a PR student. Ethics are taught in just about every PR class in some form and is stressed as being of the utmost importance.

So, do “bad” PR people exist? Sure. Just as bad doctors, lawyers, architects, bartenders and someone in any other profession you could think of exists.

PR has come a long way from what it once was (and I have over $1,000 in textbooks to prove it). It has evolved into a genuine, necessary tool for business and image management.

Behold. $1,000 dollars in PR textbooks. Each book was purchased for a separate class, except for the two on top, they were purchased for my PR ethics class.

Behold. $1,000 dollars in PR textbooks. Each book was purchased for a separate class, except for the two on top, they were purchased for my PR ethics class. Photo by Calli Rathsam

Why Social Media is Important to PR

There are many reasons why social media is important to effective PR, and here are a few.

1.) There are one billion people on Facebook. There are 500 million users on Twitter. Social media is where the audiences are.

2.) Social media is short and to the point, most posts are 140 characters or less. Short blasts of information are important because in the world today people are busy, no one has time or attention span to sit down and read long articles or press releases. People want things that are quick and condensed.

3.) Audiences have opinions and want those opinions to be heard. Social media allows customers to voice their (usually wrong, abusive and evil) voices.

4.) Akin to the point above of giving your audience a voice, it also gives you a voice to talk to your audience. Social media allows you to address issues and problems to those it affects directly.

Horse Meat is Not a Good Thing

Supermarkets in Europe have recently faced a scandal involving horse meat being sold as beef products.

Tesco, one of the largest supermarket chains in England, is dealing with the issue by increasing transparency in the supply train said Philip Clarke, the supermarket’s chief executive. Other measures being taken by Tesco are to check the DNA of the meat, to make sure the beef is actually beef said Clarke.

I believe that in order to put consumer’s minds at ease the English government or the supermarkets themselves, should stringently test the DNA of all the meat coming in from other countries. Testing the meat coming from other countries would help because according to this article contaminated meat found in Aldi, another English supermarket chain, came from a supplier in France.

Ad campaigns profiling the farms the meat comes for the public is something else I would recommend.

I believe campaigns  would help to put minds at ease because it makes them human and easier for people to relate to, less corporate and unknown.

Apologizing to all consumers would also be a nice touch also.