According to U.S. News & World Report‘s newly released "Best Jobs of 2012" list — which is based on professions that "should hire abundantly over the next several years" — "Public Relations Specialist" is highly regarded. It was ranked 41st overall, and was named the number one creative services job of the current year, ahead of "Architect" and "Artist and Designer." Thanks to the explosive popularity of social media, companies have entered a new era in the field of reputation monitoring, and social media outreach has largely been assigned to PR departments, and has led to more comprehensive contracts with PR agencies — and will continue to do so. "With the onset of social infrastructure such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, combined with the versatility of Web tools, the jobs of public relations specialists are growing at a fast clip," said Gerard Corbett, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, U.S. News reports. "Whether you’re the press secretary for the President of the United States, a communications director for Google, or a media specialist for a small nonprofit, your main goal is to generate positive publicity for your client and improve their reputation," the article says about the PR profession. "As a PR specialist, it’s your job to cultivate and maintain close and productive relationships with journalists, bloggers, and opinion leaders," it adds. "Marketing Manager" also made the list, just above "Public Relations Specialist" at number 40, because of the promising outlook that social media offers to communicators. In addition to the high ranking for PR, the article also cites promising job opportunities over the next decade — the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects public relations specialists’ employment growth of 22.5 percent between 2010 and 2020. During that time period, an additional 58,200 jobs will need to be filled, the article reports.
Here’s how U.S. News describes the PR profession: "You’ll be asked to create print and Web-based communications materials — which may include story pitches, press releases, Q&As, presentations, video scripts, and speeches — ensuring they are consistent with your client’s image and message. Other responsibilities range from acting as a company spokesperson for a wider variety of media inquiries and speaking directly to the press on behalf of your client (sometimes deflecting negative criticism) to preparing your client for press conferences, media interviews, and speeches," the article by U.S. News writer Jada A. Graves reports
On the topic of pay scales, U.S. News says that "The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual wage for public relations specialists was $52,090 in 2010. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $95,200, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $30,560. The highest paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Victoria, Texas, San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C."
On the topic of landing a PR job, "A public relations specialist job requires writing skills, critical thinking ability, fast turnaround, patience, a thick-skin mentality, and creativity," said PRSA chair Corbett in the article. He also adds that you should be able to demonstrate real accomplishments and have broad networks. And wallflowers need not apply — public relations specialists must have an outgoing, self-confident and friendly personality.