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guiding the career in public relations

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Q & As

June 1st, 2008 · 2 Comments

Q. I just graduated from college and need to land my first PR job, which hasn’t been easy to do. Should I consider applying for internships?

A. By all means, consider internships. Internships, especially at agencies, are no longer the domain of undergraduates. They are a key source of entry-level hiring. They generally run for three months, sometimes extendable for another three months. Internships are excellent ways to confirm your professional career focus, and a good opportunity to demonstrate your talent to prospective employers. Most internships are paid, but no benefits other than the visibility that will help land a full-time position.

Q. What should I expect for an entry-level salary now that I am entering the job market following college–and three relevant internships?

A. Salaries for entry-level positions vary widely depending on geography. A number of recent graduates start out in internships, which average between $10 and $15 and hour. Fortunately, that’s short lived and normally leads to a full-time position where entry-level positions typically range from $28,000 to $35,000, depending on relevant experience, education and geography.

Q.  When I was looking for my current job someone told me that I should spend about five years at an agency before I move on to nonprofits or corporations.  Do you think that’s true?

A.  Agency jobs have become the best starting point for PR careers.  When I entered the profession, PR careers emerged after learning the basics in a newspaper or other media job.  But agencies today do a better job of providing opportunities for relevant hands-on experience.  Agencies also have become a primary recruiting ground for nonprofits and corporations. 

Q.  Building a portfolio of work samples is a lot of work.  Do prospective employers really care about seeing portfolios?

A.  A solid portfolio of writing samples, media placements and volunteer activities will set you apart from many applicants who come in empty handed.  If you have a portifolio and the interviewer doesn’t ask about it, be sure to ask if he/she would like to see samples of your work.  They often don’t ask because fewer and fewer people take the time to produce them. 

Tags: Q&As

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Janet Aronica // Aug 4, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I love this blog! Thank you for creating it. I’m a senior Comm major going on my third (unpaid) internship. After graduation, I would like to start at a PR agency, but I would like to eventually end up in Brand Marketing and/or Management. I’ve read that an MBA is often required for these positions. Are there agencies that offer tuition reimbursement?

  • 2 Ron Culp // Aug 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Yes, an MBA will give you an advantage in Brand Marketing and/or Management. It is not essential in agencies, but is almost expected before moving up the career ladder in corporations. Most large agencies provide some form of tuition reimbursement, usually after you’ve been with the firm for a year. Some pay half the tuition when you start a course and the balance when you successfully complete it.

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