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In the primetime television drama Scandal the main character, Olivia Pope, handles her crisis communication career with the utmost grace under pressure. She possesses a high level of intelligence and savviness that any public relations professional would die to have. If we ignore the over-dramatized plot lines of hiding dead bodies and destroying police evidence the fictional show actually does a pretty good job of portraying the actual skills public relations professionals need to succeed in their everyday careers.

Throughout every episode of Scandal, Olive Pope is not only proactively solving crisis situations but she is also working to positively shape her clients image in preparation for them being seen in the public eye.This is very much like what real public relations professionals do on a daily basis. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their clients while building or enhancing their reputations with the public. If your dreams of being the next Olivia Pope have sparked your interest in becoming a public relations professional here is all the information you need to learn more.

What would I do as a Public Relations Professional?

Public Relations is one of the most fascinating careers available because it combines communication, creativity, and strategic thinking all into one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations professionals do the following to maintain a favorable public image of the client that they are representing.

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization’s corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts

Who are the clients?

In the world of public relations a client can range from being a company, an individual or even a government entity. This allows for a wide variety of career paths for those interested in this field of work. For instance a public relations professional can seek a job at a corporation, non-profit, on a politic campaign or even in the fashion industry. The need for public relations professionals is rapidly growing and the list of job opportunities is vast because in this day in age it is essential for any successful business to have a good reputation with the public.

How do I land a job in public relations?

To get your foot into the door of public relations you typically need a bachelor’s degree in either public relations, journalism, communications, english or business.If you are wanting to work internationally it would also be smart to pair one of these degree programs with a minor in a foreign language of your choice. Listed below are a few of the universities around the country that have reputable undergraduate or graduate public relations programs.

  • New York University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Kansas State University

Throughout your undergraduate years of college you will work towards building a portfolio that will include highly important internship opportunities that will give you first-hand experience in the field. This will eventually allow you to prove to your future employer that you have the qualifications necessary to start your career as a public relations professional after you graduate.

Where are Public Relations jobs commonly located?

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Dallas
  • Kansas City
  • Washington D.C.

Large cities like the ones listed above are typically epicenters for public relations careers. However, the great thing about a career in public relations is that any business in any location across the globe typically needs public relations professionals. So if big cities aren’t for you don’t worry. Careers in public relations are literally everywhere.

Along your journey of getting a degree in public relations you will be sure to build communication, problem-solving and writing skills. Just remember to leave the scandalous late night drama to the actors  and emulate Olivia Pope’s more positive and ethical qualities of a public relations professional.

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