Sample Paper on Eight-Year Career Plan

Eight-Year Career Plan

Part 1

An eight-year career plan in mass communication requires resilience and much networking as it is a challenging trade to break into. Students often do not make into the industry because they are scared of taking up the few opportunities and maximizing on the rewards of their current statuses. Mass communication is defined as the transmission of information to people through mass media (Zimmerman 1). It is an industry that is consistently changing due to novice inventions in technology. Mass communication plays certain roles in society. For instance, it provides new information to the public and sets the context for the perception of that information. In addition, mass communication transmits values in the society and entertains individuals through various channels. However, what exactly does in entail to break into the media industry. One of the most prestigious jobs in mass media is public relations specialist.

A public relations specialist is in charge of advocating clients who are interested in building and maintaining positive relationships with the public (Zimmerman 1). They sometimes are referred to as media specialists or even communications specialist. This is a career that is very essential to various institutions in the society since they can never neglect the impact that societal perception have on their activities. Prospective clients for public relations specialists are businesses, universities, nonprofit associations, and any other organization. The openings are endless in this field, and students can get creative along the way and endeavor to have successful ventures. Managers have recognized the link between good public relations and success of organizations. They need public relations specialists for advice on policy and strategy of communication. In fact, employment of public relations specialists is expected to increase by 24% annually to 2018 (Zimmerman 1). It might upsurge to 30% since the demand for specialized knowledge on public relations on an international platform is increasing.  An eight-year career plan that would ensure one becomes a successful public relations specialist is therefore highlighted below.


This is the preliminary year to establish the institution that best serves an individual and will guide them thoroughly towards achieving their goal of becoming a public relations specialist. A thorough research is needed since every individual has their preferences towards education and co-curricular activities. When conducting research on universities one should consider five aspects that the university has to offer. The five are extracurricular activities, coursework, internship, off-campus work, and networking. These activities are very critical in establishing one correctly in the media industry as it provides individuals with an opportunity to interact freely with other people and get to understand how different individuals perceive life. Entry level positions in public relations nowadays insist on a bachelor’s degree hence one would be advised to take a bachelor’s degree in public relations from a reputable university (Rodman 15). Such universities are Auburn University, DePaul University, University of Georgia, and Boston University ( 1). Any SATs and applications needed should be done in this year so as to assure entry into a four-year course, for instance at Boston University in 2015.


This is the first year in school taking a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. Often the first year does not contain much coursework thereby students will find that they have much time in their hands. The temptation to spend it partying and engaging in social activities is very tempting, but students in mass communication need to set their priorities right. The university often schedules less time for coursework since they need students to engage in social networking in an effort to get to comprehend fully how people from different backgrounds perceive life. It is essential that a student join a club in the university that is focused on mass media. Clubs organize events where students can utilize their talents and get a platform to improve on them. They also organize trips to credible media institutions where students can learn how the industry works (McKay 1). In thefirstyear, students should volunteer to work in public relations offices.


In the second year oncampus, a student is now aware of how social institutions function and the aspects of coursework that they are good in. It is time to get more aggressive in these clubs. Public relations require an aggressive nature and a thorough understanding of the type of people theyare working with. It is high time to seek junior leadership roles in public relations clubs. Relevant contributions should be made on these clubs with the sole aim of improving its perception and attracting new members. Faculty members should also recognize the potential the student has and offer more guidance on how to gain entry into the industry. A good relation with faculty members is an added plus in ensuring that an individual can get good internships in the next year. Volunteer activities are significant in creating stable networks and building on theknowledge (Rodman 15).


In the third year of school, the student should strive to be at the executive roles in clubs and institutions dealing with public relations in the university. They should be taking part actively in university trips to institutions by showing a keen interest in investigative skills in public relations and the impact they have on them. A mentor is very essential at this stage since the student is almost clearing school and getting into the employment sector. The mentor should continuouslymonitor the student setting academic targets and guiding them on how to gain entry into the industry. At this stage internship at reputable public relations,institution is quite significant. Getting internships can be quite challenging especial if one has not built their network properly. Often institutions visit universities looking for bright students who have shown an inept track of excellent performance to sign them up. Establish good relations at assigned roles as you look forward to getting a contractual agreement.


This is the final year on campus, and often one is inducting junior students into club leadership positions. Often coursework is complete with project work as the final paper that’s needed to be handed in. At these, stage students should have proper resumes that contain the details of achievements so far and the institutions they took their attachment at. They should also utilize their networks effectively since they are almost completing and gaining entry into the market. LinkedIn and other networking platforms should be utilized more often in an attempt to gain more networks and prepare for jobs. At least an individual should have an off-campus job in public relations that gives one an edge in the industry (McKay 1). All factors held constant, one should graduate in this year.


This year marks the entry level job into public relations. It might be tempting to work for large companies but working for small firms gives one the required experience needed for advancement. One cannot necessarily choose any specific field to major in but it would be important to selectan area that is more comfortable to work in. More often entry level jobs entail maintaining files about an organization and undertaking field inquiriesfrom the public and press. They also assist in the drafting of press releases and organizing press conferences. It is important to learn these basics as one aspires to grow in the industry.


By this time, the company should have recognized the talent they have to the individual and would throw in bonuses and boost the salary in order to retain the service being offered. Often one specializes during this time either in media relations or public policy. The fact that a career might be established in the current company should not be enough reason for one to get comfortable. There is a need for more inquiryand studiesfor one to become a specialist in media relations. Considerations for taking a master’s program should be consideredin order to have the prerequisite knowledge to be considered a specialist. If not then consider taking a course in business or international relations depending on the specific field one wants to venture in. Probably one should start looking for a better company to work in so as to build on theexperience and establish more networks.



If indeed one manages to get employment at a better company then that would be good especially if the company majors in what interests them. For instance,an individual could choose to work with the public relations team at Google Company. Here they would take on better roles where they do research on media and public perception in an effort to create sustainable policies that are practical in the market. Other fields could include businesses where for instance one could join McDonald Franchises in creating a public image of the company that is focused towards improving the public perception. Politics is also a good venture where one could join White House as a specialist maintaining the image of the presidency. At this stage, one should be financially stable to take up a master’s program in public relations so as to boost their credibility in the field.

Part 2

Ethical issues are bound to come up in the career of a public relations specialist. Often these issues revolve around loyalty where the public relations specialist is bound to be loyal to the profession and organization. However, then there are certain scenarios where their personal convictions and duty to society might compromise on loyalty to the profession and clients. Universal ethics often dictates serving public interest and acting as responsible advocates for those being represented. Adherence to the highest standards of truth and accuracy is emphasized on in an effort to advance the interests of clients while communicating with the public. Essentially, public relations specialists should be faithful to those they represent while honoring the obligation of service that best suits public interest (Clark 1). A comparison can be donein journalism and public relations. In journalism, loyalty is owed to the public where, if at all there is corruption in an institution, then the journalist is obligated to report on it regardless of the consequences the company might face. For a public relations specialist, a different approach is necessitated. Public relations specialists are loyal to the clients and organizations they work for. The PR code of ethics states that a member should safeguard the privacy rights and confidences of clients (Parsons 53). They should also protect confidentially and privileged insider information gained in the ordinary course of their business. The public might respect and appreciate public relations specialists for exposing companies that engage in unethical practices. However, whistle blowing is not encouraged in the profession of public relations. The primary duty of a public relations specialist is to protect company image (Clark 1). If the company engages in unethical behavior, public relations specialists should be at the upfront in advocatingthe companyand assisting it moves past such events with minimal adverse effects.

Ethical issues come up as relates to conflict of interest within the public relations specialist profession. Conflict of interest arise when the public relations specialist’sduty to serve the interests of their clients and the public are weakened by their self-interests (Moyer 74). For instance,a public relations specialist might be heading the public relations department of the largest bank in America. The department is in charge of choosing a company to advertize some programs to customers of the bank. The company that has been chosen based on credibility belongs to the spouse of the public relations specialist. Should he approve this choice or not? This an ethical issue thatis centered on theconflict of interest. The specialist has to ensure that all the requirements of the client and the customers are met. His spouse’s company does indeed meet all the requirements promising to deliver effectively on such a project. In fact, his wife will be euphoric to get such a contract as it would boost her business. However, then what effect would this have on the customers if at all they got theinformation that the company that was chosen belonged to his wife? Ethics dictates that the specialist has to be honest with the client and inform her that choosing his spouse’s company for the contract would have an adverse impact on the business (Public Relations Society of America 2).Customers might sense nepotism even though the business is fully qualified to deliver. It is essential for public relations specialists to focus on the interests of clients and not their interests when making decisions that have an effect on them.

Public relations specialists are accountable for any unethical actions their clients take part in. It is essential to note that specialists often have information on the decision-making that takes place in any institution. They are senior members of management often consulted in all aspects of administration and in charge of formation of policies that are to be implemented. It is wrong for these specialists to agree on unethical practices citing escape clauses that the company can use to avoid repudiation. It is essential for PR specialists to put a stop for ethical issues at the onset. When the company adds an ingredient to a product that is highly addictive, yet harmful, in order to gain more revenues from sales, it should discourage these. If at all the client does not stop the practice then it is only proper to resign so as not to be privy to such actions. If public relations specialists encourage such unethical behavior, then they should be held accountable when the client is prosecuted (Moyer 76). Ethics involves upholding the truth and proper conduct, and when unethical practices take place, they should be opposed vehemently by public relations specialists.

Works Cited University Majors. 2015. 12 March 2015. <>.

Clark, Roy Peter. “The McClellan Case: When Loyalty and Public Interest Collide.” 30 March 2011. Website. 12 March 2015. <>.

McKay, Dawn Rosenberg. “Public Relations Specialist.” 2015. Careerplanning Website. 12 March 2015. <>.

Moyer, Jennifer. “Ethics and Public Relations.” 7 January 2011. Website. 12 March 2015. <>.

Parsons, Patricia. Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice. London: Kogan Page, 2008.

Public Relations Society of America. Public Relations Ethics Case Study #5 Conflicts of Interest. New York: Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, 2001.

Rodman. Mass media in a Changing World. Online Boxes: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010.

Zimmerman, Jordan. “Using Your Degree.” 2014. Masscom Website. 12 March 2015. <>.