Monday, October 08, 2007

Follow-up on Grady's 2005 PR graduates

In my continuing quest to find out what we know about the job prospects and satisfaction of PR program graduates, I contacted the University of Georgia's Career Center. They conduct a "Post Graduation Survey" every year, and they pointed me to the results of the 2006 report (on 2005 graduates) posted on their Web site.

The survey is voluntary, and only 27 PR majors responded (follow the Journalism/Mass Comm display and choose the PR major display). Much like the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates, which I discussed last week, this survey shows a broad range of post-graduation jobs among Grady's PR majors. Happily, only one of the 27 was still looking for a job; 21 were working and the others had gone on to graduate school, volunteer service, etc.

Here are the job titles the 2005 graduates listed:

Account Manager
Architectural Representative
Assistant Teacher
Assistant to Director
Bilingual Recruitment and Training Manager
Community Education Specialist
Community Relations Specialist
Corporate Concierge
Creative Services Manager
Loan Officer
Marketing Coordinator
Media Specialist
Public Relations

In other words, this survey also indicates a number of PR majors working in non-communication field jobs. But once again, it doesn't tell us if they got into an area they actively sought, or just got a job.

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Hey Karen,

Interestingly enough, this is a topic that's come up a lot lately in my own life.

It seems that a lot of people I know agree that PR students learn all kinds of communication skills, outside of press releases and media advisories. The question remains whether or not they choose jobs outside of PR purposely or "accidentally."

Maybe its just the optimist in me, but I'd like to think that a majority of students have capitalized on the expanse of communication skills they learned through their PR studies and fallen into jobs outside of PR that they love...
Hi Nikki, thanks for checking in. I tend toward the optimistic, too, but I don't want to assume. Yesterday I had lunch with a Grady PR grad from '06 and she said everyone she knew who wanted a job in PR got one, except for one person. And she did know some who didn't want jobs in PR. I think the fact that we limit our number of PR majors is probably an important factor in this.

So, when are you going to come back and guest lecture? ;-)
Today, in my Introduction to PR class, I've invited five grads into speak. Their titles range from Communications Manager, to Account Coordinator, to Co-ordinator, Issues Management. So, depending upon the sector of PR they work in, the titles really vary.
Want to know why people aren't getting jobs in PR?
Here's a fresh announcement from the Georgia Chapter of PRSA about a Sales Manager job at Stone Mountain Park. To save space, I'll just copy the duties and qualifications.

Summary of Duties
Sell catered functions and reach target goals established by Sales Director; prepare and make sales presentations to a variety of clients
Participate in the development of new packages and collateral used to increase sales
Develop an in-depth knowledge of all policies and procedures as they apply to all food and beverage services that are sold by the Park Sales department
Serve weekend duties in the Park as PR with clients and report on the status of facilities and catered events
Meet deadlines on assigned projects in a timely fashion
All other duties as assigned

Training & Experience
College degree preferred
Minimum of 3 years outside sales experience
Experience in cold-calling for prospects

"Position Requirements
Must be able to work days, nights, weekends, and holidays
Must have and maintain a valid Georgia driver’s license along with personal transportation to attend industry trade shows and meetings (local or out-of-town)
Must have the ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public
Must be able to handle a high volume of phone calls, requests, and reservations in a courteous and professional manner"

So, this is a cold-calling sales job, pure and simple. Only once is PR mentioned, and that is as a "PR" with customers on weekends.
This ad speaks for itself, but speaks volumes about why PR has no professional or disciplinary standing.
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