PR Firms vs. PR Departments

You know how they say that in order to work get to the top, you have to start at the bottom?  Well that definitely applies to PR when it comes to working in either a firm or a corporation department.

Now, I know some people reading this may be offended, but I, personally think starting at the bottom means starting in a firm.  If a PR practitioner wants to gain experience in all things PR, then they have to work themselves thin doing the “gritty” work at a firm.

Now, don’t get me wrong, working in a corporation department is just as much work and just as stressful – but it is a different kind of stressful work.  The daily and weekly work load in a department is, for the most part, consistent.  What I mean by consistent is that there is a person for each specific need.  Needs such as social media, event planning, press releases, etc.  Each part within the PR department has someone designated to that and that only.  However, the case is different for PR firms.

PR firms are never working on the same thing twice and they temporarily work with various corporations and individuals.  A small company who can not afford to have a PR representative would hire someone from a local firm, temporarily, to take care of whatever PR matters that company needs done at that time.

I would without a doubt rather work in a corporation department, but there are some pros and cons to both:


  • Pros
    • Consistent – do not need to work to gain more clients – reputation is already established
    • Specialize in a certain area of PR
    • Option to do a little of everything
    • Large corporation = good pay
  • Cons
    • A huge responsibility
    • Frequent overtime hours


  • Pros
    • Gain a lot of experience
    • Gives you that “3-5 years of experience” for a larger job title at a corporation
    • Work with several different clients – builds connections
  • Cons
    • Inconsistency
    • Paycheck to Paycheck
    • A lot of extra work to build the firm’s clientele

So which one would you choose?


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