Public relations (PR) is one of the most exciting areas in mass communication. But guess what? You do not necessarily need a degree in mass communication to become an excellent public relations officer. All you need now is to read this article to see how you can become a PR officer in any company in Nigeria or even have your own PR consultancy firm. If already have a degree in mass communication you also need to read this article for a better direction on how to achieve your dream of becoming a public relations officer in Nigeria.
What is the job of a public relations officer?
Public relations (PR) officers are responsible for maintaining a favourable relationship between an organization and its publics. They engage in managing the reputation of a company. As a PR officer you’ll write press releases, deal with press enquiries, monitor the news across Nigeria and possibly abroad to what could affect your organization in anyway (environmental scanning), and sometimes manage crises. Your job could include:
- planning PR campaigns and strategies
monitoring the public and media’s opinion of your client or employer
- writing and editing leaflets, brochures, press releases, speeches, newsletters, websites and social media
- representing the company at events such as press launches, news conferences, exhibitions, open days and sponsorship
developing good working relationships with the media
- arranging for advertising or promotional films to be produced
- public speaking at presentations, conferences, or radio and TV interviews
- You also require very good communication skills to do this job well.
What do I need to do to become a public relations officer in Nigeria?
There are no set qualifications to become a public relations officer. This means that anyone with any degree can become a PR officer but to understand the environment and do well you might need to get a diploma in public relations from the NIPR to sharpen your skills. However having a degree in marketing, mass communication or a related qualification is highly desirable. Some organisations may ask for you to have a qualification from the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
How do I study Mass Communication, Marketing or related degree in Nigeria?
You have to check the UTME (JAMB) brochure to know the requirements for seating for exams in these disciplines. But English and Maths are compulsory. Then for WAEC or NECO you also check the requirements for entry to study these courses. For mass communication Literature is always compulsory.
Check university entry requirements for these courses as we advised earlier. Meanwhile some some schools in Nigeria have school of mass communication with various departments, including public relations department. So you could as well get a public relations degree from any of these schools.
A PR executive should be very versatile because that’s what the job requires. However, here are some specific schools you will require to excel on the job.
- Problem solving
- Time management
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Interpersonal skills
Journalism/Mass Communication degree
Business and media
Note that these are desirable degrees but anyone with any degree can work as a PR person in Nigeria if the person acquires requisite diploma training with the NIPR. You can then grow on the job by taking professional courses on media and related courses.
Where to find out more
Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR)
Which office or department will I work in?
PR professionals could work in a company’s in-house public relations (PR) department, or as an account executive at a consultancy that manages PR activities for a number of clients in Nigeria and even abroad. Sometimes you will be expected to do flexible working, such as on weekends and evenings.