Public Affairs plays an essential role in supporting the government affairs and community engagement efforts of a company or organization. This position is required to effectively collaborate with multiple stakeholders throughout the company and within the communities where the company operates.
Education and Training Needed
- Generally hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public relations, business, social science, or communications
- They may have additional education and training related to the area they specialize in.
- They often learn on the job as interns or in other positions within the same organization
- Note Public Affairs educational requirements are similar to public relations in some ways, however, PA deals more with “government relations, media communications, issue management, corporate and social responsibility, information dissemination and strategic communications advice”
- Common courses include public policy, environmental and energy policies, economic development, political decision processes, human resources, legal topics, leadership, ethics, research and innovation, and health policies
Things to do in High School and College
- Stock up on courses in English, writing, speaking, psychology, debate, and public policy
- Develop your research skills and a keen eye for attention to detail
- Join debate teams to get practical experience with forming arguments and speaking persuasively
- Learn about different government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels
- Try to make as many industry and government contacts as you can through constant networking
- Keep applying for Public Affairs and Public Relations internships until you land one. Do your best to represent your employer’s interests in dealings with the government
- Study books, articles, and video tutorials on Public Affairs
How to land your 1st job
- The path to working in public/community affairs isn’t always straightforward. Expect to start as an intern or in an entry-level job related to PA or PR, then work your way up as you gain experience
- If doing an internship, let your supervisor know you are passionate about learning the job and ask for their mentorship to get ahead
- Many come from working in government (city, state, federal) as a staffer, communications director...etc.
- Stay open-minded about job opportunities, so you can get your foot in the door
- Check out the websites of top media companies to look for opportunities
- Relocate to where you are needed the most! Forbes notes the top states for entertainment/media/PR jobs are California, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Michigan, Louisiana, Las Vegas, and Ohio
- Get the contact info of professors, supervisors, and co-workers. Ask them well in advance if they’ll serve as professional references
- Review Public Affairs resume templates and interview questions
- Always dress professionally for job interviews!
- Institute for Public Relations
- International Association of Business Communicators
- National Council for Marketing and Public Relations
- PR Council, Public Affairs
- Public Relations Society of America
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Global Public Affairs