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Public relations jobs require varied skills

Q. I graduated from college in May 2013. I am working in a marketing agency. I love the energy and working with clients. I have a special interest in public relations. Can you tell me more about that field?

A. In the world of marketing, public relations professionals have one of the greatest challenges of all. In short, PR professionals try to create and maintain a favorable image for their employers (or client, employed by an agency). These professionals might write media releases, act as spokesmen for companies, or both.

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To learn more about the world of PR, I consulted Craig Librett, senior director of public relations for Westcon Group, a networking technology company based in Tarrytown, N.Y. Librett explained: “Public relations is probably the least understood function in all of marketing. It’s most popularly been portrayed (inaccurately, I might add) in movies like ‘Wag the Dog.’

“The PR practice is all about creating public perception. Our industry is squarely focused on moving the needle regarding how people view a company or individual — and includes customers, partners, and the media. Anyone with a strong writing background has a great chance of success.

“The virtual Rolodex is key — as it’s all about the media you know. The goal is to develop relationships and guide the press into writing (hopefully positive) stories on your company. Few realize that – when reading an article in a publication and it mentions a company – a PR person most likely was behind getting the journalist to write the story. Social media avenues (such as Twitter and Facebook) have opened up a whole new world for PR professionals — meaning a new way to guide public perception.” Another resource is the Public Relations Society of America.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
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