A survey of 1,229 students in Great Britain showed that 70 percent were unfamiliar with what a career in PR involves. So the Chartered Institution of Public Relations (Britain's PRSA) is starting to send teams of its members into British secondary schools to advise 14 to 16 year-olds about PR as a career choice. That's a relational move that might benefit the profession whether or not it generates droves of job candidates along the way. A quick check of PRSA's website didn't indicate whether it promotes similar visits to U.S. high schools. But local firms could do themselves, and PR's standing, a service by making them.
Kate Magee, associate editor of Britain's PR Week, writes that considerably fewer British kids know about PR as a career option than, for instance, medicine, sales, banking or finance. "For any reader who has tried to explain their job at a dinner party, these conclusions will not come as a surprise," Kate writes. "The PR industry is hard to explain because it encompasses a range of disparate roles, and its impacts, such as a great piece of media coverage, are often invisible to the untrained eye." When it comes to PR's career identity, are things much different in the U.S.?
It's not just PR but communication in all its aspects that should be promoted, early on, for offering engaging career opportunities. Heaven knows, our U.S. communication climate could use injections of fresh young awareness. Just a thought.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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