Q. As a freshman, I am now preparing for a career in the public relations field. I read the recent post on how to secure a job with a PR agency. I was wondering if you had any specific advice on how to prepare for a corporate PR career for a student. Is it relatively similar with focus on internships, volunteer and extra-curricular activities? If different, then what would you suggest for a student like me in order to get relevant corporate work experience during university? –FF
A. Preparing yourself for a corporate PR job requires much the same effort as for an agency position. You can enhance your corporate job chances by getting a minor in business or an MBA. The biggest complaint from corporate executives regarding PR practitioners centers on their lack of business acumen. By understanding the company’s business model, you can offer the best public relations counsel. Importantly, you will have the ear of management, who sometimes dismisses the PR function as a mere publicity shop.
Having hopefully answered your primary question, I also want to encourage you and entry-level PR hopefuls focusing on corporate PR job searches to change your goals.
Instead of pursuing entry-level corporate jobs which are few and far between, I encourage aspiring PR pros to start their careers at agencies. Agencies provide the broadest range of hands-on PR experiences in the shortest time period. Most corporations recruit from agencies or other corporations. Corporate PR leaders know agency experiences provide essential training in time management, writing skills and teamwork–all essential tools in a corporate job. In the next five years, PR job growth will continue to be greater in agencies than in corporations. Finally, if you don’t enjoy the corporate environment, it is far harder to move to an agency than the other way around.