What do you want to be when you grow up?
A once exciting question we were asked as children has become an impending reality.
College is a time for you to learn about something you are passionate about, something you are going to love doing for the rest of your life; so how can you be sure to make the right choice? You can’t.
With your interests constantly growing and dreams changing, finding the perfect major is quite difficult. And that’s why I chose public relations — a major with endless opportunities.
Other degrees confine you to only a few career choices but with PR there are so many alternate routes, you don’t have to know exactly what path you want to take. Whether you’re a sports guru, an entertainer or an avid writer, there is a place for you in this field of opportunity.
Want to strictly do public relations? Then you’ve found yourself a position at pretty much any functioning organization. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes they need PR until a crisis arises but it’s our job to be prepared when called upon. Along with crisis management, PR specialists manage the images of their clients in the media, write press releases on noteworthy happenings and help create a communication pathway between their clientele and the public. From brand image to a company’s downfall, PR practitioners are here to fix, create and change a situation to the best of their ability.
Entertaining people is a big component of PR. You are constantly taking care of clients, putting on organization events and promoting brands. While being an event planner is its own profession, many PR-related skills will help you successfully manage events. From setting up to taking down, we’re taught how to build client relationships, organize events and make a good name for our people. So, if being a wedding planner is a potential dream of yours, look no further; you’ll have the skills you need as a PR major to take this route.
If a PR agency isn’t for you, writing is one of the most important skills we must have. What better way to pursue this skill than becoming a journalist? The luxury of majoring in PR is the ability to explore various jobs; if you’d rather be writing a column than a press release, you can. As PR majors we are taught to meet deadlines, use AP style and other basic journalistic techniques. If writing is something you enjoy doing, make a career out of it — you’ll have the tools with a PR degree.
If writing isn’t your thing, don’t fret. You’ve probably heard of the connection between marketing and public relations more than once. It’s a lot like PR but with different promotional approaches, writing responsibilities and communication efforts in the media. However, we are fortunate in the sense that we share enough related knowledge on branding, strategic thinking and basic communication skills, allowing PR majors to expand the job search into this business sector. While both PR specialists and marketers have similar tendencies, they are not identical. But you will excel in either of these fields because like PR, marketing offers a wide range of opportunities.
So, if you aren’t sure about your current major or haven’t even started college yet, keep public relations on your radar — you won’t regret the possibilities. Odds are you’ll make a just-as-good-if-not-better candidate for the career options above than those without a public relations degree.
Rachel Tomchin is a senior majoring in public relations at The University of Alabama (UA.) She is am a writer/editor for Platform Magazine, an online, student-run publication at UA. Connect with her on Linkedin and Twitter.