The day you thought would never get here has finally arrived. You’ve passed you finals with flying colors, taken the obligatory senior photos and are now waiting your turn to walk across the stage. You’re graduating and couldn’t be happier—except for one minor detail. Whenever anyone asks you what you received your degree in and you reply “Public Relations” you seem to get the same generic responses: “What exactly do you plan to do with that for a living?”; “Are you going to go to law school? I hope so,” and “Oh, so you’re good at ‘communicating.'”
Granted, not everyone has this perception, but when you’re amid a sea of peers who chose to pursue careers as engineers, accountants and other more traditional, stable roles, you can’t help but question your decision. But take it from me; their condescension only comes from a lack of understanding. Little do they realize, or care to acknowledge that each and every field they are pursuing utilizes some form of public relations practices. Additionally—more good news—the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of public relations specialists to grow by 16 percent between now and 2020.
A huge misconception lies in the idea that anyone can do it, when the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. A successful PR professional has to be adaptable, flexible, creative and accountable all at the same time—and they have to constantly be aware of the public and changing perceptions. If it wasn’t for people like you, there are a number of companies that would have probably been way less successful than they are today. Below is a list of industries that owe much of their longevity and continued success to effective PR initiatives and methods.
From health to life, dental and auto the varieties of insurance are far and wide. There seems to be policies for every type of lifestyle and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean people love insurance companies. Actually, the opposite is usually true. From ridiculous rates to unreliable quotes and unfulfilled policy promises insurance companies have no shortage of enemies and need all of the help they can get when it comes to getting the public on their side.
An angry client is suing her agency because they wrongly overcharged her and refused to fix it? Cue the PR professionals. The superheroes left to save the day and clean up the messes made by this public scandal swoop in and put a positive spin on everything. If they weren’t there to do this, the news would surely be overrun with stories of deceit and wrongdoing and the insurance industry as a whole would be in trouble.
The same is true for politicians at every level. Their campaign teams are made up of dozens of professionals—most with some form of public relations in their background. Tasked with helping their select candidate win what has turned into a large-scale popularity contest, PR professionals have a direct hand in determining who gets nominated and essentially affects policy. And people want to tell you your chosen career path isn’t an important one? Little do they know.
Oil and Gas
They’re depleting the world’s resources, polluting the air and making tons of money in the process—so it’s no wonder oil executives and companies like Shell and Texaco get a bad rep. Then there’s BP—responsible for the tragic oil spill two years ago. When they needed to win back the public not just for business but employment purposes, they turned to their team of media and communications professionals who instantly tackled the campaign to highlight BP’s redeeming qualities. The PR professionals with Write 2 Market understand the important role they play and help various companies within the industry perfect their image. Granted, with or without PR the oil industry would probably still be there because oil inadvertently makes the world go ’round, but it would have an even less favorable perception than it already does and probably wouldn’t be as universally successful. Not wanting to limit themselves, Write2Market also places PR professionals in the health care, non-profit, energy, and technology industries—proving the universal importance of your skills.
Dose of Perspective
Although people in public relations may not be directly saving lives, they have been known to save several careers. PR professionals complement the industries they support by giving them a dose of how the public perceives them. In a way, they keep executives honest with themselves and offer a necessary reality check. Recently, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Public Relations Specialists 41st in its 2012 list of the best jobs, recognizing the important role they play. PR professionals have to see the big picture, while not neglecting the minor details that can slip through the cracks—so, if you’re up to the challenge, there is a never-ending stream of companies and professionals who could use your help.
Guest post writer Susan Wells is a freelance blogger who writes about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance.