Okay, so I graduate school with my undergrad degree in public relations, then what? The options and paths I could take seem endless! But one of the main things I would need to decide would probably be whether I should work in a PR department or in a PR firm.
Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to both a department and a firm. With a PR firm, the pros are that you have a variety of work. Usually, an employee of a PR firm works on several clients and projects at a time. Work in a firm is fast-paced, exciting and offers many opportunities for networking- which leads to better job opportunities. Also, you can look to the other employees for advice and mentoring on a project. The other employees all know what you are dealing with at the firm. Disadvantages to working in a firm consist of intense daily pressure on billable hours (some firms are real “sweat shops”).
In a PR department of a corporation, there are also pros and cons. Advantages include that it is slower paced and you have less intense daily pressure placed on you. Also, you get to know the corporation that you are working for really well and you are apart of the “big picture”. It can be more satisfying to work in a corporation because you are able to follow through with a project from start to finish. Unlike many of your projects of a PR firm, and you receive credit for your work. Disadvantages include that there is little variety, and sometimes you are so involved in your work that you don’t have time for networking. Also, jobs are more difficult to find without experience.
For a new PR practitioner, I believe it would be more beneficial for me to begin working in a firm. The reason for this is because I would be surrounded by other public relations professionals who could assist me in my work if I needed anything. Also, it would give me an opportunity to work with a variety of clients and help me network a great deal which could result in landing a great job!