What type of public relations is right for you? An interesting question, especially for someone like me who, until recently, never thought of PR as being multifaceted. Yet, to an extent it is. There are actually two types of potential job fields in the realm of public relations. First there is the form of PR that operates as a department within an organization, second there is the PR firm, which runs independent of a corporation.
So where is the best place to start if you are a recent college graduate, department or firm? Well there may not be a set answer to that question. In fact it may depend more on your personality and what you like. I am the type of person who likes some order, or at least I prefer to be told what to do. As a result, I think I would do better in a public relations department; I like the top down structure and knowing that there is someone over me, who I can report to.
However, this type of position might become frustrating, if the company I was working for had more of an advisory as opposed to compulsory-advisory perspective. Put in layman’s terms, if I were working for a company that never really listened to any of my ideas, I would quickly wear out and become irritated with my position. Yet, if the people over me listened to what I had to say, I would feel my job was actually important and having an impact on the public.
The only other problem I might face in a department setting, is the occasional or even frequent tension that can arise between public relations and the other departments in the organization. These departments can include advertising, marketing, human resources, and legal. For instance, if a major crisis occurred and PR was trying to release a statement to the public, but the legal part of the company thought the statement should not be printed for fear of lawsuits, tension could escalate quite quickly.
However, despite all the possible stresses that could arise as a result of working in a department, I would still prefer it to a PR firm, at least for my first job. PR firms just seem to require more experience. I would also have the added pressures of knowing someone hired me for a specific reason, in hopes that I would do a better job than they believed their PR department could do or had the time to do.
I think I would feel like I was constantly being compared to the company’s PR practitioners, and if the final product wasn’t excellent, the business would be disappointed. I also think it would be hard to have a number of different clients all needing different things, all at the same time. If I worked for a PR department in a company, at least I would have the advantage of really knowing what the organization was like. If I was part of a firm I might feel more like an outsider coming in.
I hope some of this helps, but the truth is that in the end, you are the one who will have to make the decision as to what is best for you and your set of skills.