How to become a Public Relations Officer

Public relations officers plan, develop, put into place and evaluate information and communication strategies that present an organisation to the public, clients and other stakeholders. They also promote good information flow within their organisation.

Personal requirements of a Public Relations Officer

  • Interested in people
  • Good analytical skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Able to write concisely
  • Good organisational skills
  • Interested in current affairs
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Aptitude for working with computers

Education & Training for a Public Relations Officer

To become a public relations officer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in public relations. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you complete a degree with a major in public relations. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Most institutions in Australia offer relevant degrees. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Public Relations Officer

Public relations officers may perform the following tasks:

  • monitor public opinion regarding an organisation or particular issues
  • develop and implement communication strategies for an organisation and advise management on communication issues and strategies
  • plan public relations programs, including the preparation of cost budgets
  • present arguments on behalf of an organisation to government, other organisations and special interest groups
  • respond to enquiries from the public, media and other organisations
  • arrange interviews with journalists, prepare and distribute media releases, and liaise with and make statements to the media
  • write, edit and arrange production of newsletters, in-house magazines, pamphlets and brochures
  • assist with preparing organisational documents such as annual reports, corporate profiles and submissions
  • write speeches, prepare visual aids and make public presentations
  • oversee production of visual, audio and electronic material, including managing websites
  • organise special events such as open days, visits, exhibitions and functions
  • conduct internal communication courses, workshops and media training
  • develop risk assessments and implement crisis management plans to ensure an organisation’s reputation is maintained
  • plan, develop and manage brand identity
  • organise and manage events, exhibitions, conferences and product launches
  • procure sponsorship deals.

Working conditions for a Public Relations Officer

Public relations officers may have to work in the evenings or on weekends, and may be required to travel for business.

Employment Opportunities for a Public Relations Officer

Public relations officers work for a variety of organisations, including large industrial or commercial firms, government organisations, tertiary institutions, industry associations, retailers, financial institutions and not-for-profit organisations. They can also work on a freelance basis or be employed by public relations consultancies that offer a range of public relations services or specialise in particular fields (fashion, for example). Public relations officers usually work in cities where media services and other communication facilities are available and where many organisations have their head offices. However, even local councils in regional or remote areas need to communicate with the public and local businesses and may require public relations services. There is strong competition for positions offered in this field, but people with experience and formal educational qualifications are generally in demand.

Specialisations:


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Additional Information
While membership is not required to practise, the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) offers student and professional membership to those in the public relations or communications fields. See the PRIA website for more information.
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