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Become A Public Affairs Assistant

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Working As A Public Affairs Assistant

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

  • Stressful

  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Affairs Assistant 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 Public Affairs Assistant

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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Public Affairs Assistant Career Paths

Public Affairs Assistant
Executive Assistant Manager Marketing Manager
Regional Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing And Operations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Owner Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager Communications Director
Director Of Public Affairs
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Owner Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Communications Manager Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Regulatory Affairs Specialist Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Regulatory Affairs Specialist Compliance Specialist Communications Manager
Internal Communications Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Regulatory Affairs Specialist Compliance Manager Communications Manager
Community Relations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Public Affairs Officer Communications Officer Communications Director
Community Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Public Affairs Officer Program Manager Assistant To The Director
Director Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
Public Affairs Officer Public Relations Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Founder Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Marketing Manager Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Marketing Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Consultant Communications Consultant
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Specialist Communications Consultant
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Portfolio Manager Strategist
Senior Strategist
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Officer Public Information Officer
Public Affairs Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant To Executive Vice President Marketing Specialist Communications Consultant
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Public Affairs Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Public Relations 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Public Affairs Assistant
Internship 14.8%
Volunteer 5.0%
Assistant 4.9%
Secretary 4.5%
Cashier 3.8%
Teacher 3.3%
Top Careers After Public Affairs Assistant
Internship 7.2%
Consultant 5.5%
Volunteer 5.0%
Assistant 4.9%
Director 3.8%
Associate 3.3%
President 3.1%

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Top Skills for A Public Affairs Assistant

  1. Public Affairs
  2. Press Releases
  3. Regulatory Documents
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted Naval Academy Public Affairs officer with establishing community relations and knowledge.
  • Prepared press releases for public dissemination, developed training materials for community organizations.
  • Compiled electronically regulatory documents according to regulatory requirements.
  • Created monthly publicity reports, formatted community calendars and performed data entry.
  • Provided media relations, special events planning and special projects support with increasing degrees of managerial responsibility.

Public Affairs Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

61.5%

Male

28.1%

Unknown

10.4%
Ethnicity

White

56.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

13.4%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.2%

French

14.8%

Italian

8.3%

Arabic

4.7%

Mandarin

4.1%

Russian

4.1%

Portuguese

4.1%

German

3.6%

Japanese

3.0%

Cantonese

2.4%

Turkish

1.8%

Hindi

1.8%

Persian

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Croatian

1.2%

Swahili

0.6%

Estonian

0.6%

Telugu

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%
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Public Affairs Assistant Education

Schools

American University

10.6%

George Washington University

10.1%

University of Phoenix

9.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.8%

George Mason University

5.8%

Northeastern University

5.8%

Temple University

5.3%

Georgetown University

4.8%

University of Maryland - University College

4.3%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.3%

Ohio State University

3.9%

New York University

3.9%

Johns Hopkins University

3.9%

Syracuse University

3.4%

University of Central Florida

3.4%

University of Texas at Austin

3.4%

Defense Information School

3.4%

Troy University

2.9%

Michigan State University

2.9%

Saint John's University - New York

2.9%
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Majors

Business

19.5%

Communication

13.7%

Political Science

11.5%

International Relations

4.9%

Public Relations

4.7%

Management

4.3%

English

4.3%

Marketing

4.0%

Psychology

3.7%

Journalism

3.7%

Public Administration

3.3%

Human Resources Management

3.1%

Law

3.1%

Biology

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.6%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Pharmacy

2.1%

Finance

2.1%

Sociology

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.8%

Masters

27.5%

Other

13.2%

Associate

5.4%

Certificate

4.1%

Doctorate

4.1%

Diploma

0.9%
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