Agencies Aren’t The Only Option: 6 Alternatives to Kick Off Your PR Career

Written by Michelby Coco Whitehead 

If you are a recent PR graduate or will be entering your last semester of undergrad soon, please, whatever you do, prevent yourself from contracting ATVS—Agency Tunnel Vision Syndrome.

What is Agency Tunnel Vision Syndrome?

This is when you believe that the only way to be a successful public relations professional is to work at a high-end PR agency. I know Gina Waters and Samantha Jones make agency PR look like a crush-worthy goal on television, but it’s not the only way to start a lucrative career, or work with major brands. As a newbie in the game, you should take advantage of every opportunity. Here are other places that hire public relations directors and coordinators that worth considering to help you begin to build a solid foundation in PR.

Colleges & Universities (even fancy private high schools)

This is a great place to begin your search for a career in public relations because these opportunities are literally within your reach! Alumni affairs, student affairs, admissions, etc. are all departments that need creative and PR savvy individuals to keep things running smoothly on campus. It would also be a good idea to seek a public relations internship at the school you attend right now, increasing your chances of getting hired after graduation.

Retail Stores & Restaurants

As long as commerce exists, public relations will be in demand; businesses need visibility to stay in business. From local boutiques to department stores,  restaurants  and nightclubs, brick & mortar hot spots hire people with PR backgrounds for their corporate offices and headquarters. Make a list of your fave places to patronize and apply for jobs on their websites. FYI, these jobs usually come with killer employee discounts!

I know Gina Waters and Samantha Jones make agency PR look like a crush-worthy goal on television, but it’s not the only way to start a lucrative career, or work with major brands.

Nonprofits

You know the cliche, if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life! Is there a cause that you’re super passionate about – women’s rights, children, refugees? Find the organizations who are dedicated to providing support to communities you care about and you’ll be making a difference, doing  meaningful work and earning a paycheck.

Start Ups & Entrepreneurs

Beauty influencers, tech companies, authors, life coaches, and so many other self-employed professionals need a publicist who “gets them,” and can help them get the word out about their latest project or service. You can target potential clients by searching on LinkedIn or researching specific hashtags on Instagram. Going this route also equips you to start your own future agency.

Hospitals

Your local hospital, and any other for that matter, is more than sick people and unseasoned food in the cafeteria. There is an actual business side that keeps the facility up and running. That business side includes a public relations department that manages internal affairs such as company culture and holiday parties, as well as external public relations to maintain a solid image with the patients it serves, its shareholders, and the community in general.

Of course, you should continue to apply for agency jobs if working for one is your goal but stay woke and don’t let ATVS get the best of you. Keep an eye out for other places that need a polished aspiring PR pro like yourself! For more ideas, check out 10 more unique job ideas for PR majors.

About Michelby

Michelby Coco Whitehead is a bayou belle who specializes in getting entrepreneurs seen in media like A-list celebrities! Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @cococurator for branding, business tips, and black girl magic.