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Career Outlook for Public Relations in 2013 and Beyond

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From the Olympics to presidential elections and enough headlines and scandals to entertain us for years to come, 2012 was a busy year for public relations professionals. Fortunately, for those looking to break into the business and those hoping to move up, job prospects continue to look promising for 2013.

A new research study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) highlighted the top 18 occupations with the most growth (most added jobs) since 2010. With 8,541 jobs added over the past two years, Public Relations Specialist snagged a place at #13 for the best jobs of 2013.

This year, we can expect a continuation of this trajectory, especially if PR proceeds to gain leeway in the battle against marketing and others over control of social media. As big brands lend more of the budget towards social media and small businesses become more involved, knowledge of digital marketing and social networks will help you leverage your position; whether you’re searching for a job, promotion, or a raise.

The forecast for the New Year in PR isn’t entirely sunny, though. Public relations was also voted #5 among the most stressful careers in the US by CareerCast. Now while the stress levels of PR execs may not deserve to be ranked among those of firefighters and military officers, it’s fair to say that it’s one of the most anxiety-provoking corporate jobs out there. Having to handle communications for Lance Armstrong after his doping scandal or Chick-Fil-A President, Dan Cathy, after his tasteless comments against gay marriage could easily make the top ten of worst nightmares.

Nevertheless, PR pros aren’t quitting left and right because they can’t take the pressure. In fact, most people that pursue a career in public relations are not only driven, confident, and charismatic, but they also perform at their best in stressful situations. Without these valuable soft skills, it would be tough to build strong relationships with the media, answer questions under pressure, and handle communications during a crisis. So what might seem stressful to the innocent bystander could be the necessary motivation a PR pro thrives on.

Besides, Public Relations Specialist was ranked the #1 best creative job and #51 of the 100 Best Jobs for 2013 by U.S. News & World Report. The benefits of working in PR more than make up for the damaging stress levels.

Those in PR make a great living (median annual salary $53,190 with upper 10% at $96,880) and if you work in San Francisco, Washington DC, or New York City, you can enjoy higher than average pay for the profession. As a manager of reputation, communications, and even laying a hand in marketing, a PR person plays a major role in any company or organization. They work in an exciting, bustling atmosphere and are constantly challenged to learn new skills and sharpen old skills for different campaigns. PR professionals also reap the benefits of being well-connected with all sorts of people – from reporters and influential bloggers to business executives, politicians, and even celebrities.

PR is certainly not dying, but growing, by a projected 23% between 2010 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s 58,200 new jobs to be added during this decade. Many of these, I imagine, will be offered to recent graduates and eager interns with social media experience.

Some good 2013 advice for veterans in the field is to stay current with new trends and techniques and to get friendly with the internet and its many tools for the job. For those just starting out, get an internship, have a writing portfolio, and get some experience under your belt as soon as possible. Having that solid experience on your resume along with your diploma will dramatically increase your chances of landing a first job in PR.


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