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Career in Public Relations

Sep 11, 2018 10:14 IST

    Public Relations

    Introduction

    Public Relations is a career avenue for those who have excellent communication skills and who wish to pursue a career that offers an opportunity to interact with lots of interesting people. This is a profession where you need to understand the listener’s psyche and mould it in your favour.

    The first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico City in August 1978, defined the practice of public relations as "the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organizational leaders and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest."The skill to handle and manage people is of prime importance and with an inclination to influence people’s view you can help create a particular image of an individual or organization amongst the general public with creative use of different media.

    Step-by-Step

    A public relations course is designed to equip you with skills like public speaking and understanding the listener’s psychology to facilitate useful exchange of information. Nonetheless, it borders on understanding human beings and their communication needs to a large extent. The syllabi are usually shared with Mass communication students and are designed to enhance communication skills amidst technicalities. The challenge is to simplify technical information.

    The course content of a typical Public Relations course would overall include the following:

    1.  Introduction to Public Communication
    2.  History of Print Media in India
    3.  Electronic Media and Photography
    4.  Advertising Research
    5.  International communication and Human Rights
    6.  Role of Information Technology in Public Relations
    7.  Study of human needs and psychology

    Depending on the college and university you join, the course content would vary. Most of the subjects would be a subset of any of the above mentioned.

    Start Early

    If you are planning to join a course in public relations, you must be prepared with list of colleges and the choice of course content these colleges offer. It would be advisable to select colleges that offer various courses in Mass Communication as these are the colleges that facilitate coordination with popular media professionals as well. After completing school, you may apply for a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and then apply for a master’s degree in public relations. Else, after graduation in any subject, you could pursue post graduation in public relations.

    Some institutes offer diploma courses in public relations, which you may consider applying for, as well.

    Some of the best institutes for studying PR include Xavier Institute of Mass Communication, Mumbai; Symbiosis School, Pune; and Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

    Is it the Right Career for Me?

    To check whether a career in public relations is the right one for you, understand how good you are at communicating with others and whether you have a passion for media related tasks and events. If you are an avid reader and follow everyday news closely, then PR or even a mass communication degree would be the right choice for you.

    On the other hand, if your passion lies in technical subjects such as computer science or pure sciences or finance and accounting, you should try and pursue those. However, a course in PR would help you anyway in public speaking. Salary for PR professionals is as good as Sales and Marketing professionals or IT professionals.

    What would it Cost Me?

    A good PR course could anywhere cost you between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 40,000 per year depending on the college you choose. For instance, if you have been selected with St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai, which is affiliated with the University of Mumbai, the fees is around Rs. 12,000 per year. Private colleges charge hefty fee, though.

    Funding/Scholarship

    If you wish to finance your PR course, you may try availing educational loans offered by various banks. They allow you to repay the money back after you complete your education or by working while you study as well! State Bank of India offers a maximum loan of up to Rs. 7.5 lacs.

    Job Prospect

    Job opportunities for public relations professionals are very assuring in various industries if the applicants have excellent communication skills and convincing abilities. Advertising agencies and Marketing companies are constantly on the lookout for PR professionals. Several PR professionals pursue a course in photography or visual communication along with their PR course and get placed with filmmaking agencies in Mumbai.

    The job prospects in India are bright. Companies such as Balaji Telefilms, Mukta Arts and other agencies usually display the openings for creative heads and creative advertisement professionals on the popular jobsites.

    Pay Packet

    The pay package for a beginner in PR can vary from Rs 15,000 and above depending on the skill set and education. If you are joining a corporate company as Personal Secretary to CEO, you may earn anywhere in between Rs 2 lacs to 3 lacs per annum for your first job. If you are joining an advertising and marketing company as a communications professional, you may earn about 2.5 lacs and above as a fresher.

    On the other hand, if you apply to a News channel or a TV channel as an anchor or newsreader, you can expect greater salaries of Rs 30,000 and above. However, for media jobs, you need to be willing to work in various shifts and travel places as well.

    If you apply for a marketing position with an IT company as a technical communication or corporate communication professional, you can expect a starting salary of Rs 15,000 and above. You may try venturing into sales or business development positions as well! All you need is excellent communication and selling skills. The opportunities are simply limitless.

    Demand and Supply

    The demand for candidates with good communication skills is high in all industries. For instance, these days, even while hiring for technical jobs such as software programming, HR managers of companies look for people with excellent communication skills. If you have good public speaking skills, it is only an added advantage for you.

    In India, moreover, the supply of good English speaking professionals is always a little lower than the demand. However, the standards have improved majorly over past few years and even students from government schools can speak good English today. Thus, the competition is high.

    Market Watch

    The growth for PR professionals can be stated as phenomenal. Considering the fact that there are numerous TV channels, News channels and IT companies and BPOs/KPOs, the need for PR professionals in the market is on an all-time high.

    In other industries such as Hotel management, Shipping and logistics, PR professionals are quite in demand. They are offered jobs of lobby managers, sales managers and receptionists with welcome arms.

    The growth of advertising agencies that promote various events has also been phenomenal over the past few decades. And there is always scope for working with PSUs and government organizations such as PROs. You can also work for rich clients who want to maintain a good public profile. Thus, the market for PR professionals is desirable at this point in time.

    International Focus

    Several countries have hired Indians in various leading marketing positions based on their PR skills. Especially, in the US, the opportunities for communication professionals are very exciting.

    Several Indians have chosen to start their own websites and advertising companies and make money.

    Positives/Negatives

    +ives: 

    •  Students with good communication skills are needed everywhere. Thus, the job opportunities are quite good for PR professionals.
    •  The pay packet is decent enough and as good as professionals in all other fields.

    -ives:

    •  Some PR professionals constantly jump jobs and companies to make good money. This sometimes may lead to an unstable career if not properly prioritized.

    Different roles, different names

    Public Relations, as a subject is a part of Mass Communications. Other similar subjects include corporate communications, technical communication and so on. Considering that these are all interwoven subjects, a PR professional can succeed in any field if he has passion and willingness to learn more with time.

    Top Companies

    The below mentioned are some of the top advertising companies in India:

    1.  Ogilvy and Mather
    2.  J Walter Thompson India
    3.  Mudra Communication Pvt. Ltd.
    4.  FCB-Ulka Advertising Ltd.
    5.  Rediffusion- DY&R

    Besides applying for a job with these companies, you might as well apply to top IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, HCL, and others as they may look for corporate communications professionals with PR experience.

    You can also apply with top TV channels and New channels in the country.

    Tips for Getting Hired

    Follow the below mentioned steps to get hired as a successful PR professional:

    1.  Apply to at least 7-10 companies for the job.
    2.  Schedule up interviews and tests on convenient dates.
    3.  Be prepared to talk a lot as these companies would expect to meet candidates with excellent communication skills.
    4.  Be flexible on the pay packet if you are a fresher.
    5.  Express willingness to learn and upgrade your people skills further by showing genuine interest in joining the company you are applying to.
    6.  Research about the company and its business well before you appear for the interview.

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