Public relations professional

What they do

Public relations officers are responsible for an organisation's communication with the general public, clients and other stakeholders. In many cases, they are also responsible for an organisation's internal communication strategies. Public relations officers use a range of tools including press releases, speeches, newsletters, in-house magazines and pamphlets. They may also represent their employer at news conferences and in interviews with journalists. Some public relations officers will also be involved in developing an organisation's crisis plan and will be responsible for keeping staff, shareholders, the media and the public informed in the event of a crisis.

Specialisations include: Media Liaison Officer, Press Officer, Promotions Officer, Public Affairs Officer, Public Relations Officer

Working conditions

Public relations officers may work in-house with one organisation, or as consultants, managing communication for a number of clients. In either case they will usually work in an office environment. They usually work regular hours, however, they may be required to work evenings and on weekends, sometimes at short notice, especially in times of crisis for their employer.

Tools and technologies

Public relations officers work mostly with computers and other office equipment such as telephones, photocopiers and fax machines. They may use special desktop publishing software when designing pamphlets and brochures. In order to stay up-to-date with news and current affairs they will usually read at least one daily newspaper.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a public relations professional, you usually have to complete a degree majoring in public relations, or a related field such as marketing, advertising or communication and media studies.

Most Western Australian universities offer degrees in these fields. Contact the university of your choice for more information.