by Gabrielle Woodard
There aren’t many people who see the opportunities provided by practicing public relations in the government or political realm. One thing to know is, often times, in the political world public relations is referred to as public affairs. As defined by prdaily.com:
“Public affairs relates to matters that concern the public directly. This could include legislation, policing, and public administration, as well as other elements. Public relations on the other hand, focuses more on the company’s connection with the public."
So, just know that as a PR practitioner, you are capable of doing public affairs work.
In the political PR session at PRSSA National Conference the main speaker was Bob Lehrman, who currently works for the Federal Communications Commission. Lehrman got his first job thanks to one of his classmates at Tuft’s University, Kurt Vonnegut. Lehrman said after he was awarded the job he was able to read the letter in which Vonnegut had written. In the recommendation letter, Vonnegut had said he believed Lehrman was qualified for the job but would do much better in Hollywood.
Due to the audience’s particular interest in internships within political public relations, Lehrman recommend when applying to internships to “cast a wide net” and apply to many places. He also recommended to “pick something you’re fascinated by” because when you are very interested in something, you are more likely to learn while doing it.
Lehrman emphasized multiple times to research the organization and know as much as you can about it before interviewing. Much like the corporate world, government agencies want you to know the organization for which you are interviewing to the fullest extent possible.
I highly recommend anyone interested in any kind of public relations researches jobs offered within the government. There are jobs in the corporate sector, non-profit and agency. Government jobs often provide stable work and allow for growth within multiple organizations.