By: Biying Wang
Whether you are a recent Public Relations graduate or someone who is passionate about strategic communications and corporate affairs, there’s several factors that could dictate your career path and lead you toward working for an in-house public relations department or a public relations agency. Though these options are widely known, it’s important to be aware of what both of these options can offer you as a professional.
It starts with this: What is your passion?
If strategic communication itself is your passion, then working for a public relations agency is most likely your game as it presents you with an opportunity to work for various markets and industries. If, on the other hand, you are passionate about being in a particular organization or industry, you may be happier working for a company or organization’s in-house public relations department.
What is it like to work at a PR agency?
Working in an agency means that you work on multiple accounts every day on the job. You might find yourself consulting with a music artist in the morning and brainstorming for a fashion campaign in the afternoon. Similarly, agencies work with clients of differing followings and platforms. You might be working with a widely known influencer or media conglomerate, but also be on an account for a start-up app. This allows you to dip your toes into a variety of industries and explore your passion; this is perfect for someone who has many interests and is simply interested in learning about public relations practices.
The fast-paced agency life and its unparalleled atmosphere of constant work enables developing public relations professionals to grow rapidly in networking and experience. An agency’s atmosphere ensures that you will be be surrounded by other PR practitioners. Thus, even if your dream job is not to work for an agency, this option proves to be a strong starting point for any new PR professional.
What About In-House PR?
Working in-house means you do public relations for one company. With this, you can become extremely knowledgable about a specific platform or industry. If you are someone that knows which industry you want to break into, you may prefer the in-house PR game. However, this can sometimes pigeon-hole new professionals as it limits networking in other industries and this can make it difficult to change paths later down the line.
When working in-house, you might have the opportunity to become the face of a brand since PR professionals often act as the company's spokesperson. You would have access to people outside of the communications field, as well as senior management. The former can make you more open-minded, while the latter is crucial for promotions within organizations.
With that being said…
If your enthusiasm is all about strategic communications, you might find yourself satisfied by working for a PR agency where you can explore different aspects of communications. You would have the benefit of being surrounded by other PR professionals which helps you grow. Meanwhile, If you know where your passion lies, working in an in-house PR department could help you get closer to your dream. In which case, you get to be inspired by people with more diverse backgrounds, not just the PR world. On the other hand, if you are not sure about your niche in the field of PR, starting your career at an agency would give you an opportunity to explore.