How to Become a
PR Manager

Lady talking to her team in a conference room

A rewarding career as a PR Manager begins here.  We have all the information you need to know to get started in this career, including educational and training requirements, required skills and more.

What Does a PR Manager Do?

A PR Manager needs to build trust and a positive relationship between a particular business and its clients as well as the general public. A PR Manager creates and manages the public perception of an organization by managing effective communication and media relations through the use of a multitude of media platforms. All organizations, whether public or private, require a PR Manager so you could find yourself in a variety of business sectors.

A few common PR Manager’s duties and responsibilities are:

  • To engage with social media across traditional and new platforms.

  • To create content, such as writing and reviewing press releases, byline articles and presentations.

  • To evaluate PR results, including monitoring and communicating these on a regular basis.

  • To understand industry trends and how they affects clients as well as recommending communication strategies if need be.

PR Manager Skills

A PR Manager must be able to direct and supervise people as well as have the capacity to teach and to lead. To maintain a positive public image and increase a company’s credibility, a PR Manager must be flexible and adept as they have to deal with highly stressful and unpredictable situations. Strong social skills are required to build relationships and be the interface between a company and the general public as well as clients. They may be required to attend meetings, media and networking events.

Other key PR Manager skills include:

  • Flexibility, initiative and willingness to learn

  • Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Organizational and Time Management Skills

  • Problem Solving and working in a team

  • Coping with pressure

How Do You Become a PR Manager

Education and Training

A formal degree is not a requirement but establishments generally desire applicants who have a Bachelor's degree in public relations or a similar field like journalism or communications.  Some employers prefer a Master’s degree in a relevant field. There are many institutions that do offer courses in public relations but one needs to be wary about whether they are comprehensive enough to give substantial preparation for management responsibility. Furthermore management positions typically require candidates to have several years of public relations experience as well. Proficiency is best gained through actual experience and this combined with an academic background would make a competitive combination. Background knowledge of economics, psychology and the political economy would be a huge advantage.

PR Managers can get certified through the Public Relations Society of America; this qualification is based on years of experience and successfully passing an examination. An Accredited Business Communicator qualification is also available from the International Association of Business Communicators. Further education opportunities include courses in business administration, marketing, public speaking and public affairs. Creative writing would be helpful. Computer skills, Internet courses, research and business presentations are also highly sought after competencies.

Any business experience is beneficial; however, the most relevant to a PR Manager would be that in public relations itself and this can be found in internship opportunities. To make yourself more marketable an internship is more beneficial ­-- there are more opportunities. Internships are available on completion of a degree and candidates can then work their way to management positions after they have gained the relevant work experience.

Entry-level positions in this field are usually a supportive role to PR Officers, account managers and spokespeople.  They usually do the groundwork for PR campaigns.  Five to ten years working experience in these positions is usually a requirement if one is looking to get in to a management position.

Finding a job

There is a 7% percent increase expected from through 2024 for PR Managers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This amounts to 47,000 job openings expected due to growth and replacement needs.

With the biggest demand expected in specialty and private hospitals possibly driven by an aging population and these institutions seeking to increase their brand identity and reputation. Another sector of huge growth is software publishers. As we become more and more reliant on software applications these sectors will seek to stand put and be more competitive.

A superior and well-crafted resume that showcases your skills effectively is the first step to any successful PR Manager job search. Browse through JobHero’s library of PR Manager resume samples for guidance on how to construct yours.

After your resume is complete, search online for PR Manager job opportunities. At this point contact the professional network you have built up including those you met through internships to look for opportunities.

A cover letter is a good platform to expresses your interest and qualification as well as what you offer to the role.  If you need inspiration, look at the collection of cover letter samples on our site.

Insights from a PR Manager

To get a first-hand account of how to become a PR Manager, we spoke to Lauren Scarpa, PR Manager for SEMrush. Here's what she told us.

What is the common career path for PR Manager?

This really depends on this area you decide to work in: agency vs. nonprofit vs. B2B, etc. Generally, it'll go something like: Intern to PR Associate to PR Coordinator to PR Manager.

What should someone consider before becoming PR Manager?

As the media becomes more digital, the attention span of reporters, journalists, experts has become shorter, meaning you need to perfect your pitching skills in order to gain their attention. This industry has changed so much over the last 10 years – 90 percent of what I learned in school is now obsolete. Be ready to learn on your feet and be adaptable. 

What type of person excels in this job?

A great people person that can write well and get to the point! The best advice I can offer anyone looking to enter this field is that you don't have to be perfect at everything. Your skills will develop and your methods will change – experiment with new approaches, but be ethical. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Don't be afraid to ask for help and be honest.

What are some of the most important skills for PR Manager to have? 

PR professionals are conversation starters unafraid of rejection. We are communicators, storytellers and promoters. Skill-wise, other than writing, you'll need great organizational skills especially if you're working with multiple clients with multiple deadlines. Time management skills are necessary as well – always be mindful of other people's time. Honesty – it seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook this so they don't risk looking bad. If you're asked something and you don't know the answer, be honest and let the questioner know you'll find out and get right back to them. You have a better chance at building their trust this way. Work ethic. Don't go into this field thinking you can just skate by – you can't. Bring your A game to the table everyday. 

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a PR Manager?

Personally, I love the relationships I've built with people. Seeing my employer/client published is also absolutely rewarding along with knowing that all the hard work paid off. Just remember, there's always another story and another event. 

How Much Do PR Managers Get Paid?

The median annual wage for a PR Manager is $119,390 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,890, and the top 10 percent earned more than or equal to $187,200 per year. The list below will include BLS data for the top 10 states for median wage from highest to lowest.

Top 10 States for PR Manager Salary

PR Managers in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    New York

    $76.01

    District of Columbia

    $73.87

    New Jersey

    $70.15

    Delaware

    $68.95

    Rhode Island

    $68.70

    Virginia

    $67.73

    Texas

    $62.15

    Colorado

    $63.09

    California

    $61.63

    Massachusetts

    $58.01

    PR Manager Resources

    For more information to continue or explore a career as a PR Manager, we have put together a list of additional resources for you.

    On the Web

    Beyond PR
    relevant and up to date blogs to public relations practitioners

    Solo PR Pro
    Provides resources on how to become and remain a successful freelance PR consultant.

    Spin Sucks
    Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros

    SHIFT Communications Blog
    Learn how to increase public relations successes considered most effective for your business objectives, with services including Earned Media Advertising, Digital Syndication and Social Media.

    Industry Groups

    Public Relations Society of America
    Is the world’s largest organization of public relations professionals. This site provides professional development and advocates greater understanding of public relations services on business and professional issues.

    International Public Relations Association
    A transnational public relations society that improves standards of public relations practice worldwide. It represents individual professionals, not agencies or companies.

    International Association of Business Communicators
    Includes information about accreditation, awards and employment opportunities.

    PR Management Books

    The New Rules of Marketing and PR
    provides communications professionals with a step-by-step guide to connect with consumers using the latest communications tools.

    Social Media
    this book focuses on demographics and audience engagement tactics for six major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

    The Art of Crisis Leadership
    this book details how to prepare for, navigate through and recover from crises using real-life examples of people and companies that lived through them.

    The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.