What Is a Public Affairs Manager?
Public affairs managers are responsible for all aspects of communication between an organization and the public. They typically have responsibilities such as ensuring an organization maintains a positive image, creating public awareness about an organization, and addressing issues about an organization that are of public concern.
These types of managers are often in charge of the staff within a communications-related department. They work alongside the staff and oversee promotional campaigns, approve press releases, and direct special events. Sometimes, public affairs managers also handle communications within an organization and work on company newsletters and reports.
As those in management positions handle many responsibilities, their work environment is often stressful and they must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This may require that they have flexible personal schedules and are able to work long hours. Along with possessing excellent communication skills, it is essential that public affairs managers are goal oriented and deadline driven.
How to Become a Public Affairs Manager
To work in the area of public affairs, one usually has at least a bachelor’s degree in a communications-related area such as public relations, journalism, or mass communications. Common courses in these types of majors include mass media and society, principles of advertising, organizational communication, media campaigns, image management, and copyediting and design. To become a public affairs manager, an understanding of business communications and management is essential. Therefore, it is also important to take courses in subjects like business administration, public speaking, political science, technical writing, and public affairs.
Often, management positions are filled from within an organization, so those who want to be public affairs managers are going to have to pay their dues first. Attaining an entry-level position in the areas of advertising, promotions, public relations, or marketing, will help you get your foot in the door. Hard work, dedication, and persistence are important qualities, as advancement to higher up positions may be gradual.
Public Affairs Manager Career Outlook & Salary
Those who wish to attain a management position in public affairs will probably have a pretty fair chance to do so. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is projected to increase by 13% within the next decade. This is due to increasing competition among organizations and the need for qualified professionals who can develop new and more effective ways to communicate with and appeal to the public. The most job opportunities will likely be with non-profit organizations, hospitals, and business and professional associations.
When it comes to management positions, there is usually a competitive pool of applicants. Those with a college education in a related-field, relevant work experience, and strong creative, communication, and computer skills are more likely to be employed. The Bureau reported that the median annual wages of these types of managers was $89,430 in May 2008.