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Public Relations Manager Careers

What Does a Public Relations Manager Do

Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.

Duties

Public relations managers typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Identify main client groups and audiences and determine the best way to reach them
  • Designate an appropriate spokesperson or information source for media inquiries
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Develop their organization's or client’s corporate image and identity
  • Assist and inform an organization’s executives and spokespeople
  • Devise advertising and promotion programs
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Fundraising managers typically do the following:

  • Manage progress towards achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
  • Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Create and plan different events that can generate donations
  • Meet face-to-face with highly important donors
  • Apply for grants
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff

Public relations managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client.

Public relations managers help to clarify their organization’s point of view to its main audience through media releases and interviews. They observe social, economic, and political trends that might ultimately affect their organization, and they recommend ways to enhance the firm's image based on those trends. For example, in response to a growing concern about the environment, the public relations manager for an oil company may create a campaign to publicize its efforts to develop cleaner fuels.

In large organizations, public relations managers often supervise a staff of public relations specialists. They also work with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image the company or client is trying to portray. For example, if a firm decides to emphasize its appeal to a certain group, such as young people, the public relations manager needs to make sure that current advertisements are well received by that group.

In addition, public relations managers may handle internal communications, such as company newsletters, and may help financial managers produce an organization’s reports. They may also draft speeches, arrange interviews, and maintain other forms of public contact to help the organization’s top executives.

Public relations managers must be able to work well with many types of specialists to report the facts accurately. In some cases, the information they write has legal consequences. As a result, they must work with the company's or client's lawyers to be sure that the information they release is both legally accurate and clear to the public.

Fundraising managers oversee campaigns and events intended to bring in donations for their organization. Many organizations that employ fundraisers rely heavily on the donations they gather in order to run their operations.

Fundraising managers usually decide which fundraising techniques are necessary in a certain situation. Common techniques may include annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, or major gifts. In addition, social media has created a new avenue for fundraising managers to connect with more potential donors and to spread their organization’s message.

Those who work on annual campaigns focus heavily on contacting donors who have given in the past, and request that they give again. Finding new contacts for future donations is also a component of a successful annual campaign.

Capital campaigns are different; they are generally used to raise money over a shorter time period and for a specific project, such as the construction of a new building at a university.

Fundraisers who spend most of their time on planned giving must have specialized training in taxes regarding gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests in a will. Major gifts are a feature of many different campaigns and are generally requested in person given the large value of the potential donation.

How To Become a Public Relations Manager

Public relations and fundraising managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions may require a master’s degree. Many years of related work experience are also necessary.

Education

For public relations and fundraising management positions, a bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, English, fundraising, or journalism is generally required. However, some employers prefer a master’s degree, particularly in public relations, journalism, fundraising, or nonprofit management.

Courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, and creative and technical writing can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, public relations managers can get certified through the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates qualify based on years of experience and must pass an exam to become certified.

The International Association of Business Communicators offers a credential to demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive program, offered by CFRE International, is voluntary, but fundraisers who pursue certification demonstrate a level of professional competency to prospective employers. Candidates are required to have 5 years of work experience in fundraising and have 80 hours of continuing education through conference attendance and classroom instruction to qualify. Fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years to keep their certification valid.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Public relations and fundraising managers must have several years of experience in a related or entry-level position, such as a public relations specialist or fundraiser.

Lower level management positions may require only a few years of experience, whereas directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Managers deal with the public regularly; therefore, they must be friendly enough to build rapport and receive cooperation from their media contacts and donors.

Leadership skills. Public relations and fundraising managers often lead large teams of specialists or fundraisers and must be able to guide their activities.

Organizational skills. Public relations and fundraising managers are often in charge of running several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Managers sometimes must explain how the 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 and fundraising managers regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to explain the organization’s position clearly.

Writing skills. Managers 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 succinctly in order to keep the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Average Salary
$88,261
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
16,223
Job Openings

Public Relations Manager Career Paths

Top Careers Before Public Relations Manager

Top Careers After Public Relations Manager

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Average Salary for a Public Relations Manager

Public Relations Managers in America make an average salary of $88,261 per year or $42 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $137,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $56,000 per year.
Average Salary
$88,261
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Washington, DC
Salary Range92k - 173k$126k$126,426
Arlington, VA
Salary Range74k - 139k$102k$101,927
New York, NY
Salary Range72k - 140k$101k$100,939
Seattle, WA
Salary Range68k - 133k$96k$95,643
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range68k - 133k$95k$95,370
Edison, NJ
Salary Range67k - 130k$93k$93,380
$34k
$173k

Recently Added Salaries

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Cornell Cooperative Extension
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06/15/2021
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$48,75006/15/2021
$48,750
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PCL Construction
PCL Construction
06/13/2021
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$80,00006/13/2021
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Manager, Global Consumer PR
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Crocs
06/05/2021
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05/31/2021
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$120,00005/31/2021
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Public Relations Manager
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05/07/2021
05/07/2021
$80,00005/07/2021
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Public Relations Manager Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Public Relations Manager. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Public Relations Manager Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Public Relations Manager resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Public Relations Manager Demographics

Gender

female

61.1 %

male

33.7 %

unknown

5.2 %

Ethnicity

White

76.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.1 %

Black or African American

8.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.5 %

French

15.8 %

Russian

5.9 %
See More Demographics

Public Relations Manager Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

73.3 %

Masters

10.1 %

Certificate

7.2 %

Top Colleges for Public Relations Managers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974

8. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

9. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

10. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564
See More Education Info

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Top Skills For a Public Relations Manager

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 28.5% of public relations managers listed press releases on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and leadership skills are important as well.

Best States For a Public Relations Manager

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a public relations manager. The best states for people in this position are New York, Virginia, New Jersey, and Washington. Public relations managers make the most in New York with an average salary of $99,650. Whereas in Virginia and New Jersey, they would average $98,233 and $92,951, respectively. While public relations managers would only make an average of $92,849 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Public Relations Manager Jobs:
346
Highest 10% Earn:
$206,000
Location Quotient:
4.39
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Public Relations Manager Jobs:
922
Highest 10% Earn:
$177,000
Location Quotient:
1.53
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Virginia

Total Public Relations Manager Jobs:
613
Highest 10% Earn:
$171,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Public Relations Manager Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ public relations managers and discovered their number of public relations manager opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that AT&T; was the best, especially with an average salary of $114,507. Microsoft follows up with an average salary of $169,399, and then comes Neiman Marcus Group with an average of $113,651. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a public relations manager. The employers include Mitel, Activision Blizzard, and Splunk

1. AT&T
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$114,507
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
34+
2. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$169,399
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
31+
3. Neiman Marcus Group
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$113,651
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
19+
4. United States Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$79,675
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
15+
5. Hewlett-Packard
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$156,286
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
14+
6. Adidas North America
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$93,906
Public Relations Managers Hired: 
12+
Updated October 2, 2020