How to Get Into Public Relations Without a Degree

Starting fresh 

It's hard to deny that pursuing a degree in public relations can offer a substantial leg up to anyone hoping to make PR their career, but this is far from the only path to success. 

In many industries, including PR, there's still room for those who are entirely self-made, learning the ropes as best they can on their own and eager to offer their talents to any number of companies. Maybe they're even looking to start their own brand. 

One thing needs to be made clear right up front: it won't be easy to start your public relations career without a degree from a bona fide institution, but if you have a passion for this kind of work and you're determined to climb the ranks, then it's more than doable, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Let's talk about how to get into public relations without a degree. If you're still looking for additional resources by the end of the article, keep an eye on our site, where we'll be sharing all kinds of helpful information and practical tips for those looking to enter the world of PR and all it entails. 

So comb your hair, grab your blazer, and let's get your PR journey started. 

Study up 

Just because you want to find a PR job without getting a degree first doesn't mean that you should try to get a public relations job with zero prior knowledge of the work it entails. 

Even if you're aiming to start out on a very low rung of a PR agency, you should have a pretty good understanding of what the work requires and how the industry has been impacted by the internet age. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of high-quality resources online that discuss the basics of public relations, including resources you'll find on this very site. 

Study Up

Learn as much as you can on your own. Once you find a job in the industry, you'll definitely learn a lot simply from experience, but preparing yourself as well can help to hedge your bet. 

You'll be taken by surprise less often and you'll be able to offer solutions to tricky situations. 

Look for internships 

Internships can be one of the best ways to get a foot in the door with a PR agency. But before you head out and apply for several, let's talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of working an internship. 

Advantages 

Probably the most significant advantage of working a PR internship is that, once you're in, you have a chance to prove your value as an employee. 

You'll no doubt have to do some piddly work at first, but there will be opportunities for you to show what you can do. Seize every one of these opportunities as they come up. 

Many companies like to promote employees internally, and some even offer solid employment options to exceptional interns once the internship period has ended. 

You'll also get to do a lot of hands-on learning, seeing exactly how PR work is handled from day to day. That's incredibly valuable experience that you can carry with you, even if you don't get signed on as a full employee with the same company. 

Disadvantages 

If you're looking for a PR internship without having a degree in hand, then one of the biggest disadvantages is just securing an internship in the first place. 

Competition for these internships can be fierce, especially as PR continues to grow. Without a degree, you need to make your application materials especially impressive. 

You might try doing some additional research on each company and make it clear in your application that you know exactly what kind of work they do and what kinds of clients they tend to attract. 

The other major disadvantage of any internship is the pay. Most internships tend to pay between nothing and very little. 

If you have another source of income or you're living at home, then this might not be a very big problem. But if you're living independently in an expensive metropolitan area, then you won't be able to rely financially on the internship.

Consider whether you'd have enough time to work a part-time job that can sustain your living situation for the length of the internship.  

Make connections 

Whether you've successfully earned an internship or you're still on the outside, you should always be looking for ways to make new connections that could pay off in the future. 

Of course, when working with a PR agency, this is fairly straightforward. Talk to your coworkers often and get to know people, even if you don't work directly with them. 

Make Connections

While these should be professional relationships, it's ok to be social as well. Attend company functions when they arise and be friendly to everyone. 

Outside of the workspace, you can look for conferences or local meetups for PR professionals or young professionals in general. 

Try to meet people who work in other industries as well, especially those working in media creation and marketing. 

You never know where these other people are going to end up. You could find yourself in their good graces years down the line, when they're managing a big-name artist or growing their very own company. 

If they're looking for PR pros to hire, you'll be at the top of the pile. 

Think creatively 

While PR involves a set of guidelines and best practices, there's a wonderful opportunity for creative thinking and innovative problem-solving, especially with the advent of social media and online content creation. 

When working on a campaign, try to think of new ways to approach old problems. 

Online marketing isn't limited to viral content, but this viral content a great example of a PR avenue that simply didn't exist 20 years ago. 

If you're leading a campaign, don't be afraid to speak with the client directly about different approaches they would be open to. 

When you effectively utilize creative PR techniques, it will only help bolster your resumé and increase the value you offer to your current employer and future employers as well.  

Prove your worth 

No matter where you are in the course of your PR career, you need to be honest with yourself about what you can offer to the industry. Even more importantly, you need to make those offerings clear to potential employers. 

Update your resumé often and feel free to brag a little bit. If you've secured multiple jobs in PR without a degree, point it out. You're self-made and you should be proud of that. 

We'd like to wish you the best of luck in starting your career, and don't forget to come back to Promo Panda for resources and industry information.