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If you have questions about your job search, turn to our career experts and get the edge you need. Members of PRSA’s College of Fellows are ready and willing to help you with two programs:

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There are currently 683 questions posted.

You are currently viewing questions 21 thru 25.

  posted: March 19,2016 10:37 AM -- submitted by: Luke
Q21: Sales guy for yrs. Went to new company, excelled first 6 mo. Meanwhile, sales VP oversaw 2 groups local & national sales. Mgrs complained Sales VP local sales force not growing branch sales, Sales dir role created for me, pres/coo removed local sales staff from VP and gave to me to develop team grow branches. I did not report to Sales vp, to someone else. It was great. Few months after, my boss left. Then, I was placed under the sales vp! Awkward! Sales VP clearly out to get me, undermines

A21: Luke,
It seems you should talk with you Human Resources office.

Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: March 19,2016 10:36 AM -- submitted by: Jess
Q22: I have a PhD in communication. I'm currently a Visiting Assistant Professor, but I need to switch careers if I have any hope of living with my spouse. I am interested in PR, since I've had internships in this field. I have taught students in how to put together campaigns for local nonprofits (some of which were implemented by the partnering organization), and I've also done volunteer PR work for nonprofits myself. Do I need to get an internship before applying for full time jobs?

A22: Jess,
Every person and every organization is different. In hiring, an internship was never a requirement for me. I suggest you develop your portfolio including you nonprofit PR work and describing your teaching/coaching of PR students.

Then begin the process of networking. Join your local chapter of PRSA or another professional organization. Attend meetings, get to know people in your local community (beyond those you already know), ask for business cards and follow up in the following days with requests for informational interviews. Learn more about your local PR community. Ask advice.

Let family and friends know of your interest to change professions and even specific companies you're interested in learning more about.

To set yourself apart, you might also want to earn your accreditation. Connect with your local PRSA chapter to learn more about how they support members in this effort.

Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: March 10,2016 12:49 PM -- submitted by: Priscilla
Q23: I have been working in the Marketing Communications/PR field for almost 20 years. I have been debating on getting my Masters. Is it really needed these days? There are so many certifications in specific areas that one can do that I'm wondering if it is worth the time and money to pursue a Masters these days. Currently I am part of my executive team at my company. Am I better off continuing with additional professional development workshops?

A23: Priscilla—

If you work in the field of education, a master’s degree and a PhD are absolutely essential. In other fields that’s less true. However, as a part of your company’s executive team, an MBA should be quite beneficial.

Check out the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) process at You might find that process helpful, whether or not you continue through the computerized examination. Most of the resources listed on that website are available without charge.

You could use “2016 Competencies/KSAs Tested in Examination” to evaluate your own KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities). You’ll find that the competencies needed in PR are quite similar to those needed in marketing. Pay close attention to KSAs that are necessary to advance in your career.

If you find deficiencies, go to and select a book or books that you believe will be helpful.

Certainly PD workshops and seminars can be helpful, and a master’s degree may be exactly what you need. We hope you choose a route that will be the right one!

expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: March 10,2016 12:32 PM -- submitted by: Abe M
Q24: I could use some advice landing an entry-level PR job. I have two years of experience as a state regulator but this was just a job I took to pay my expenses during grad school. I have a M.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in English & Political Science. I have one PR internship from a year a go but those contacts are cold now. Do I pretty much have to leave my job and take unpaid PR internships, or is there some hope in marketing my "transferable" skills and landing my first PR job now? Thanks.

A24: Abe—

Let me suggest that you do a self-assessment by comparing your KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) with the KSAs necessary for an accredited public relations professional.

To do that, go to, select “2016 Competencies/KSAs Tested in Examination.” Work through the six objectives presented and assess your KSAs compared to each one listed in the guide. Where you find deficiencies, go to and select a book or books that you believe will be helpful.

You will find more information on KSAs needed for PR Accreditation in the APR Study Guide, which can be downloaded at

If you decide to apply for Accreditation in Public Relations, check the website for the PRSA chapter nearest you. You should be able to locate that chapter’s Accreditation chair and get involved with local PR folks involved in studying for Accreditation.

Best of success to you!

expert response from: Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: February 26,2016 06:44 PM -- submitted by: Jason
Q25: What is the difference between a Communications Director and a VP of Communications. I'm bucking for a promotion at an organization I've been at for 4 years, have previous experience as a Deputy Executive Director, and have been taking on more responsibility at my current organization. I want to make the case that they already have a VP of Communications, I just haven't gotten the title yet.

A25: I have never seen a standard definition of job titles. Each organization determines what responsibilities are included in a job description. I suggest you look at the other VP and director positions within your organization for the level of responsibility and the type of tasks that are expected of each. Compare that to the expectation of the communications position and that should be an indication of which title fits with the expectations that are your responsibility. This comparison would be a starting point for your discussion with your management.

Good luck.
Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

  posted: February 23,2016 11:00 AM -- submitted by: Susie
Q26: Hello
I am a semi-recent graduate pursuing a career in public relations, however it seems very difficult for me to get my foot in the door anywhere. I have been applying for about a year & only recently received a couple call backs but I still haven't had much luck. I completed two internships and have over 4 years experience in an office environment. I am constantly looking for conferences & events to attend to further my career and network, but I want to work. I would appreciate any feedback.

A26: Susie,
Internships are a good link to work. Have you reconnected with your colleagues from those organizations to network with them and ask them for other PR professionals with whom you can connect?

PRSA is another good link. The best way to land a PR job is to get to know the people in your public relations community. Attend local PRSA chapter meetings, go to conferences and other events (as you suggest you are doing above). Use this time to introduce yourself to professionals, ask about their backgrounds, etc. Make the conversation a learning experience, not a job interview. Don't monopolize any one person's time; they too are at the event, in part, to talk with people they know and meet new people. Rather, exchange business cards and followup with a request for an informational interview.

This is a process, you need to build up your network, do volunteer work so people learn more about your skills and abilities and can begin to see your work ethic and your character.

Good luck and keep talking with PR professionals.

Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA
expert response from: Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA

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