Overview

Public Relations Managers are there to do exactly what it says on the tin – manage the relationship between the company and the public. Key duties can include press releases, media conferences, implementation of strategies for effective customer relationships, design advertising campaigns that positively influence the appropriate target market and develop the company’s public image. As a Public Relations Manager, you are very much the face of the business, and its reputation is in your hands.

This is a dynamic and fast-moving role suited to those who like variety, are not afraid of a challenge, and have great interpersonal skills. You may move daily from writing blogs and articles, to managing internal communications, to monitoring what people are saying about your business on social media. You will need broad shoulders, too – the buck stops with you if the publicity is negative – but the rewards and the job satisfaction when it all comes together can be significant.

The entry level requirements for a Public Relations Manager can vary quite a lot from company to company. Many will require a relevant degree, such as a bachelor’s in PR or communications. However, for some companies it may be acceptable to work your way up from related positions such as Public Relations Specialist. It is not a mandatory requirement, but if this is your choice of career you may find it advantageous to seek certification through The Public Relations Society of America. Candidates will qualify based on years of experience and the results of an examination.

Pay

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary for Public Relations Specialists at around $55,000 per year with Managers making a bit more at over $60K per year. Salary aggregator Payscale puts PR Manager salaries at just over $62,000 per year, as well.

As with all managerial type positions, pay can vary greatly depending on the size of the team managed and the level of seniority within a company’s management tree. For example, a Public Relations Manager for a startup will probably receive very different compensation from that of a Public Relations Manager for Leo Burnett.

Salaries for PR Specialists increase from $50K+ for entry level candidates and increase steadily up through 10-20 years of experience where salary growth seems to commonly plateau at around $75,000 a year. This may be explained by professionals not being able to advance beyond a management position into a director position.

Public Relations Avg Salary

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Forecast

While growth forecast for more general “Media and Communication Workers” is slightly below national averages at just 4%, while the average for all occupations is 7%. Public Relations Specialists and Managers have a more sunny growth forecast of around 6%, projected for 2014-2024.

Domestic companies will continue to look to highlight their relationships with communities and customers well into the future and with high social media saturation rates, PR has taken on a whole new urgency from the days of newspaper and radio. PR Specialists with a background in digital marketing, social media and community management will have a definite leg up on the competition for tomorrow’s jobs.

Types of PR Specialists

Public Relations consists of a myriad of more specialized roles, and managers often begin their careers in one of these more defined specialist roles. A few of the main professions that fall under the “PR umbrella” include:

  • Publicists
  • Copywriters
  • Social Media Managers
  • Spokespeople
  • Branding Specialists/Brand Managers
  • Communications Technicians
  • Account Executives
  • Public Outreach Manager
  • Community Managers

After years honing one’s craft in one of the above specialties, PR professionals can advance to either a manager of their specialized role, that is to say Copywriting Manager, Social Media Manager, Branding Manager, etc., or, if they wish to pursue an even more senior position in the company, they will undertake the long and arduous process of learning all of the critical segments of PR to equip them for a higher director-level position.

PR Specialists and PR Managers can advance to more comprehensive roles within an organization such as Marketing Director, Vice President (VP) of PR, PR Director, Communications Director and so on. These positions usually involve managing entire departments, whereas before a PR Manager or Social Media Manager might only be in charge of managing a small team of people.

Public Relations Resume Download

Below is a professionally written example of a Public Relations resume you can download and print out for reference when writing your own resume. Keep in mind this is just a “writing aide” and you will want to be customizing your own resume to reflect experiences and skills unique to yourself.

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How To Write Your Own

Working in PR and understanding how to market brands, you should be uniquely positioned to write an absolutely stunning resume for yourself. Unfortunately, though, so will other PR professionals, and for this reason you will have to work harder than other types of professionals to write a resume that helps you truly stand out amongst stiff competition.

Keep the Essentials Simple

While bright and flashy infographic type resumes may catch your eye in a Pinterest search, they do not necessarily trigger the same response from HR managers. Sure, a stand-alone application and graphic-based resume can be quite interesting, much like a piece of art. However, for most companies, there simply is not enough time in the day to spend appreciatively staring at art piece after art piece.

Instead, HR Managers want to get to the point. They want to see a resume that has standardized margins, a very clear and easily readable font selection, a name and proper address, experiences listed in reverse chronological order, and skills listed clearly throughout.

PR can be all about creativity, but unfortunately how your resume “looks” is quite limited. This is not to say it lacks power, just like plain black suits can still contain a knock-out effect when well tailored. The resume, much like a tailored suit, are all about subtleties. A clear yet elegant font, direct yet descriptive wording, a heavy-weight, slightly textured off-white paper. Think more ‘pinches of salt’ and less ‘bottles of mayonnaise’ when seasoning your application.

Always Quantify Numerically

Just saying you managed a team leaves a lot to be questioned. Managing a team of two is very different than managing a team of twelve, for example. Managing a “large” budget sounds downright boring compared to “managed a quarterly budget exceeding $50,000”.  Are you seeing a trend here?

When listing your key accomplishments and responsibilities (which is what the experience section is all about), try to numerically quantify in $ or % terms whenever possible. This gives immediate scope to your achievements and saves the HR a lot of trouble in following up, getting these details before sending an interview invitation, for example.

Business is an art, but also a science in terms of management; just ask any accountant. The directness offered by listing achievements with numerical quantification is a courtesy very much appreciated by employers and will help give you an advantage over a much more vaguely written resume.

Name Drop

In PR, reputation and branding are everything. For this reason, try to mention names of brands worked with or campaigns you worked on throughout your resume. While the actual roles and achievements are center stage, there is no denying people like hearing reputable names mentioned when networking, and for good reason.

A PR Manager trusted to work with a Fortune 500 client, for example, not only sounds impressive, it also indicates that the professional has a wide array of attributes needed to manage important clients, including communication skills, organizational skills, planning skills, management skills, and obviously, strong marketing abilities.

As long as you did not sign a non-disclosure agreement, put brand names front and center along with numerical quantification to help make your resume “pop” and to continue drawing the reader’s eye throughout the entire body of your resume.

Get Personal

PR is unique in that the skills used at work are often honed in one’s personal time. Similar to software engineers and coders, proficient PR Specialists will not only follow industry trends while at work, they will actively follow and participate outside of work, as well. This can be in the form of volunteer work for a NPO or NGO, or something as simple as a personal blog where you share your musings on the industry or marketing in particular.

Obviously, you will want to run a quick self-evaluation to ensure your content is not full of explicit language or sending a negative message, although, employers will most definitely be Googling you so they will probably find that anyway. So, since it is out there, go into your blog/website/personal webpage and give it a quick polish. Make sure pictures of yourself are professional and up-to-date, update your skills when relevant and delete anything that might be damaging to your personal brand like complaining or political views (unless expressed in a neutral manner).

Sample Bullet Points

Below is a sample selection of bullet points selected specifically for PR oriented resumes. Read through these to help spark bullet points of your own when reflecting on your previous work experiences.

Useful PR Bullet Points

Respond to requests for information from the media or designate an appropriate spokesperson or information source.
Write press releases or other media communications to promote clients.
Establish or maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, or public interest groups.
Plan or direct development or communication of programs to maintain favorable public or stockholder perceptions of an organization's accomplishments, agenda, or environmental responsibility.
Study the objectives, promotional policies, or needs of organizations to develop public relations strategies that will influence public opinion or promote ideas, products, or services.
Coach client representatives in effective communication with the public or with employees.
Update and maintain content posted on the Web.
Confer with other managers to identify trends or key group interests or concerns or to provide advice on business decisions.
Prepare or edit organizational publications, such as employee newsletters or stockholders' reports, for internal or external audiences.
Coordinate public responses to environmental management incidents or conflicts.
Arrange public appearances, lectures, contests, or exhibits for clients to increase product or service awareness or to promote goodwill.
Develop plans or materials to communicate activities undertaken by organizations that are beneficial to the environment, public safety, or other important social issues.
Prepare or deliver speeches to further public relations objectives.
Confer with production or support personnel to produce or coordinate production of advertisements or promotions.
Consult with advertising agencies or staff to arrange promotional campaigns in all types of media for products, organizations, or individuals.
Plan or conduct market or public opinion research to test products or determine potential for product success, communicating results to client or management.
Develop marketing campaigns for environmental technologies or services.
Purchase advertising space or time as required to promote client's product or agenda.
Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/27-3031.00

Career Objective

The Career Objective is the tagline of your resume, and your name is the brand. Thus, it is a pretty important element that deserves a bit of time and consideration. Limited to just one to two sentences, this is where you state your experience (numerically, in years of course), your title, and the position you are seeking, and perhaps “why” you are seeking it, as well, although this is always self-sacrificing in nature (think, “to help your business grow”) and not inherently necessary.

You should be customizing your Career Objective for each resume you send out. You will customize the exact title of the position you are seeking to reflect what is listed in the job description, and also mention the company’s name. Just like using real names instead of “Sir” or “Ms” or the worst, “To whom it may concern” in your cover letter are important in communicating that you actually care about the job, so is stating the company name and/or job position as it is written in the posting within your Career Objective.

Do not sweat your tagline too much, as the main function is simply to verify to the reader this is indeed a targeted resume and is relevant to the position they are screening for. It is up to the rest of the resume, the body and additional skills, to “sell” the reader into offering you an interview, where, ultimately, you earn the job.

Additional Skills & Certifications

First, if you have a professional website or portfolio, be sure you share that URL right away at the top of your resume right below your address. If you have a less-focused website or blog, do not list it at the top of your resume and instead put it at the bottom in the Additional Skills section.

Second, make sure you list any PR/Marketing related certifications you have such as Google Adwords certification. In addition to certifications, mention other industry relevant skills you think are particularly relevant to the position you are applying for, like copy writing skills, time management, creative problem solving and management skills.

Mention any professional affiliations you have as they show you take your profession very seriously and earnestly seek to keep up to date with latest industry trends and developments. A few associations you can consider include:

The International Public Relations Association (IPRA)

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

PR Council of America 

If you are not a member, nor wish to be, you can consider at least mentioning PR or Marketing related online communities you follow or actively participate in, or other PR related publications like Public Relations Central magazine, 21st Century Public Relations blog,  or U.K focused Future of PR if working internationally or in the U.K.

The additional skills section is unique in that it allows you to convey aspects of your professional and slightly personal self that do not belong in the above, more formal work experience and education sections. Make the most out of this freedom by letting your creative side show a bit in effort to help end up being a little more memorable to the reader of your resume, compared to other applicants.

Additional Resources

-Youtube video

-Authority organization/affiliation links