I’d studied PR for 2 years completely unbeknownst to what kind of career would await me upon graduation, it was only when I started working within the industry that I realized what different jobs I could go in to within PR.
Therefore, I decided to start a small series to help fellow PR students help make the future career choice that is right for them. There’s tons of jobs you can go in to on the back of a PR degree, and these posts will hopefully provide a little insight in to them.
Firstly, there’s tons of different sectors you can work within: in-house, traditional agencies, digital agencies, charities… (tried and tested them all apart from in house) and then there’s the niche areas of what kind of PR you’ll be working in: luxury, retail, beauty, motoring, music, film, law... (the list really goes on with this, agencies tend to have a big mix of clients which all hone in on different things).
When it comes down to choosing your career, the first thing really you need to do is choose between the two main types of PR job: in-house or agency.
I’ve never worked for an in-house PR organisation, but I do know a fair bit about it on the back of my degree.
An in-house PR job means all of your energy is solely focused on one company, this can be for one big company such as Virgin, or it can be a fathering company that holds a lot of smaller companies under its wing such as Unilever.
The pros of in-house are that you can focus all of your time and efforts on your one company, and therefore the amount of PR you do for them will be greater than an agency position. You can expect to be managing more events, putting out more featured content and be writing a lot more blogs/landing pages for the company website.
The cons of in-house, as told to me by someone who used to work within the industry, are that sometimes the work can be slow. If it’s not a particularly busy week, you can be sat sometimes twiddling your thumbs. You may also find that the content you are putting out can get tedious at times, as it is often writing about the same thing over and over again. Ultimately though however, if you’re the type of person that can fill up time and be productive, and if you are passionate about the organisation for which you work for – then an in-house career may be perfect for you.
Charities also fall under the in-house category as well, and posses pretty much the same job roles and pros/cons. The difference for me, working within a charity, is that I work from home as a cost saving measure for organisation. I also volunteer my time as I do not work for them often and this is me doing my bit, if you’re looking in to a career within the charity sector, there typically are paid PR roles available.
I know a lot more about agencies as I’ve worked with them a lot, and currently work within a digital one now.
Digital agencies look after a wide range of clients, their teams are often bigger as they cover a wide range of organisations who pay them for their services; and services typically range from traditional PR, digital PR and content, web design and SEO – sometimes a mix of them all!
Clients needs will vary and the amount of work you do for them will depend on their ‘package’ (which is basically how much they pay you a month) some won’t want much from you as they may have one or two internal staff to help with their PR needs, or some will want you to externally manage the whole of their PR related needs.
I think i’ll always favor agencies as they’re more fast paced, that being said I have had a lot of experience in them and none in in-house, so perhaps i’m biased… The pros of agencies (for me) is that you’ll always be doing something different, you’ll be working and networking with a whole range of people and to put it frankly – you’ll never be bored. I learn a lot working within an agency about all different kinds of things – from recycling to Mercedes, from holidays to law – I learn something new every day!
I suppose the cons would be that it’s a high pressure job, there will be a lot of deadlines for you to meet and sometimes you may feel overcrowded with different needs from different clients. To me though, that’s what makes it fun and interesting – but each to their own.
Traditional agencies work closely with the media and the press, and PR features are more their thing. They also cover more events for their clients. Sometimes the bigger agencies may have a small digital team, but typically – digital is not their focus.
Digital focus more on the online side of things and less on the news. Don’t get me wrong they still put a lot of features out – prominently for online news platforms, but their focus ultimately is more on blogging, working with influencers and looking after social media. As the world changes, some may argue that digital PR is the future and I personally prefer working in digital as we cover a wider range of content and topics. Some digital agencies also offer SEO and web design services – these types of agencies are good to work for as there’s always opportunities to broaden your skills.
Keep your eyes out for the next post of this series, I’ll be talking about the different jobs within PR and what you can expect to do in them.