How to transition to a career in PR, and the opportunities and challenges there

by | Jan 15, 2024 | Public Relations

Public relations is a field that appeals to people who want to communicate and connect with others, but it can be a hard business to break into, especially if you don’t have the background or education necessary to thrive in this environment. 

How do you transition to a career in PR if you have no prior experience? 

How to transition to a career in PR: The high level

Let’s start by looking at the high-level path that most people take when transitioning to a career in PR: 

  • Education: There are no specific education requirements to start a career in PR, and it’s entirely possible to have a successful PR career even if you don’t have a college degree. However, having an educational background that’s relevant to PR can be incredibly useful and set you up for success. If you study for a Master of Communication degree, you’ll learn countless skills and ample knowledge to make you successful in PR. You’ll also earn an impressive credential that’s going to make your resume look much more attractive. 
  • Experience: For more advanced PR jobs, you’re going to need experience. There are plenty of entry level jobs for you to pursue, but you’ll need at least a few years of experience before you qualify for more entrenched, more solid positions. 
  • Connections: It’s also beneficial to make as many connections as you can. As with most careers, you can advance yourself in the PR industry by getting to know existing authorities in the space, learning from them, and trading favors with them. The more people you know, and the more influence you’re able to exert in the industry, the more opportunities you’ll have later on. 

Is PR a good fit for you?

PR is a rewarding and exciting career for millions of people, but it’s not without its challenges. Before you decide to finalize this transition, it’s important to consider whether PR is a good fit for you. You probably already have reasons why PR is appealing, so spend some time thinking about how PR might challenge you or present obstacles in your way. 


  • The core demands of the job. There are many PR jobs you could feasibly pursue, but many of them are intrinsically unique. These are generally not typical 9-to-5 jobs; you may be responsible for managing communications after hours, on the weekends, and in volumes that can’t be contained in 40 hours of weekly work. Also, not every PR responsibility is glamorous; you might truly dread some of your more awkward or difficult tasks. 
  • Personality fit. There’s no single personality that’s a perfect fit for PR; both extroverts and introverts can be successful here, and there are career paths for almost anyone. However, PR typically rewards people who are ambitious, competitive, creative, and diligent. If you’re missing these traits, you might find PR more challenging. 
  • Stress and pressure. Some people aren’t a good fit for PR because they have difficulty coping with stress and pressure. This is often a demanding and high-stakes job, and not everyone is cut out for that. 
  • Opportunities for growth. You can take your PR career in a variety of different directions. But it’s a good idea to have some of those directions in mind before you launch your career. What are you hoping to achieve in the long term? How are you going to get there? 

If you’re not sure whether a PR career is a good fit for you, consider talking to someone already in the PR industry. They’ll likely be willing to share some of their experiences and challenges, and hope you determine whether this is a good fit. 

Education and preparation

If you’re ready to move forward, the first step is education. If you already have a degree in marketing or communications, you’ll be at an advantage, but it may be a good idea to study for a Master’s degree. If you have no college education, there’s nothing wrong with trying to seek an entry-level PR job anyway, but you should know you’ll likely be at a competitive disadvantage to anyone with a degree. 

Getting real experience

Internships and entry-level jobs in PR are relatively easy to come by—if you’re willing to seek them out (and potentially take a pay cut). These are excellent opportunities to get your foot in the door at excellent PR firms. Even if you’re not eventually promoted or transferred, you can list these experiences on your resume as a stepping stone to a bigger, more prominent role. 

The power of networking

One of your best assets in seeking a stronger career in PR is networking. Even if you’re still in school, it’s a good idea to start making connections and fleshing out your professional network. There’s no better way to learn or find new job opportunities. As your career grows, networking is going to become even more important, so it’s very useful to build these skills early. 

As a PR guru, you’ll have real potential to make a lot of money, influence a lot of people, and participate in rewarding, creative work. But at the same time, transitioning to this career can be difficult, and the career itself presents unique challenges. As long as you’re properly prepared, and you have the right mindset, you can overcome these challenges and eventually build the career you’ve always wanted. 

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is a freelance tech and computer writer