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Become A Development & Communications Associate

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Working As A Development & Communications Associate

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $59,682

    Average Salary

What Does A Development & Communications Associate Do

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. 

Duties

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • 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
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

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How To Become A Development & Communications Associate

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

Training

Entry-level workers typically begin by maintaining files of material about an organization’s activities, skimming and retaining relevant media articles, and assembling information for speeches and pamphlets. After gaining experience, public relations specialists begin to write news releases, speeches, articles for publication, or carry out public relations programs.

Other Experience

Internships at public relations firms or in the public relations departments of other businesses can be helpful in getting a job as a public relations specialist.

Some employers prefer candidates that have experience communicating with others through a school newspaper or a leadership position in school or in their community.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly to maintain a favorable image for their organization.

Organizational skills. Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.

Writing skills. Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Development & Communications Associate Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Top Employers Before
Internship 20.1%
Associate 6.5%
Volunteer 4.5%
Reporter 2.6%
Top Employers After
Internship 4.8%
Associate 4.8%
Law Clerk 3.6%

Do you work as a Development & Communications Associate?

Development & Communications Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

72.4%

Male

25.3%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

13.3%

Asian

8.6%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

French

18.2%

German

6.8%

Hebrew

6.8%

Chinese

4.5%

Mandarin

4.5%

Portuguese

2.3%

Gujarati

2.3%

Malay

2.3%

Russian

2.3%

Hindi

2.3%

Korean

2.3%

Tamil

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Thai

2.3%

Wolof

2.3%
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Development & Communications Associate Education

Schools

Boston University

13.0%

New School

7.4%

Columbia University

7.4%

American University

5.6%

Georgia State University

5.6%

Michigan State University

5.6%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.6%

University of Texas at Austin

5.6%

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

3.7%

San Jose State University

3.7%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.7%

University of Central Florida

3.7%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.7%

Eastern University

3.7%

Vanderbilt University

3.7%

University of Vermont

3.7%

Towson University

3.7%

John Carroll University

3.7%

Simmons College

3.7%

University of Iowa

3.7%
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Majors

Business

13.7%

Communication

12.2%

Political Science

7.9%

English

7.9%

Psychology

7.2%

Public Relations

7.2%

Social Work

4.3%

Journalism

4.3%

Management

3.6%

Sociology

3.6%

Marketing

3.6%

Economics

3.6%

Writing

3.6%

Finance

2.9%

Anthropology

2.9%

Urban Planning

2.9%

Ethnic, Gender And Minority Studies

2.2%

Public Health

2.2%

Religion

2.2%

Biology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.9%

Masters

32.4%

Other

6.4%

Doctorate

3.4%

Certificate

2.9%

Associate

1.0%

Diploma

1.0%
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Top Skills for A Development & Communications Associate

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  1. Donor Database
  2. Special Events
  3. Outreach
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and maintained donor database (Raiser's Edge).
  • Assisted with special events.NB: Detailed list of work experience and volunteer experience prior to the year 2000 available upon request.
  • Developed outreach and communications models, including work on a national anti-smoking campaign.
  • Managed all Doorways' online presence (home page, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news outlets, etc.)
  • Developed content and oversaw production/distribution for various organization publications, including quarterly newsletters, annual reports and agency brochures.

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Top Development & Communications Associate Employers

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