The PR profession lives and dies by the people that make up its ranks. The quest to attract and develop talent at all levels is one that comes with formidable challenges and significant rewards. Yet, if you're searching to find a PR job in Chicago, it's really the place to be right now. There are so many opportunities in Chicago to change jobs, move up, or strike out on your own.
What's driving those opportunities? Chicago is the largest city in both Illinois and the Midwest, and the third most populous city in the United States, with over 2.8 million living within the city limits. Its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland", is the 26th most populous in the world, home to an estimated 9.7 million people spread across the U.S. states of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Historically, the city is known as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure, with O'Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world. In modern times, the city has taken on an additional dimension as a center for business and finance and is listed as one of the world's top ten Global Financial Centers. Chicago is a stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to many influential politicians.
Chicago PR Job Outlook
The agency outlook for Chicago public relations jobs is positive. In the past two years, Chicago PR firms have begun to do more hiring, and practitioners are having an easier time finding jobs. On the corporate side, there's a real need for employee and diversity communicators. On both sides, healthcare public relations is booming, as is high tech public relations. Junior-level PR pros have a healthy number or opportunities, particularly at nonprofits and smaller agencies.
And while much of the area's local media is traditional, PR practitioners increasingly encounter new communications platforms such as blogging and other social media when dealing with national and trade publications — public relations is playing a major role in developing the many information and community-building functions of the Internet.
Moreover, as the lines continue to blur between public relations and other communications specialties, educating clients and executives about the value of public relations is critical. The whole concept of integrated marketing communications is taking hold and PR practitioners have to make sure the value of public relations isn't lost in that movement.
So what's the bad news? One of the biggest challenges is time management and finding a work-life balance. However, experienced public relations professionals are increasingly requesting — and getting — more flexible work arrangements from employers. It's a function of technology, but it's also a function of how many opportunities there are — more employers now are open to at least trying it out.
One important thing to remember is that employers (agency or corporate) want new hires to be up to speed on the current market and/or industry in which they work. That is one of the advantages experienced PR professionals have over college students - they are more familiar with business operations in general, and may be more tied in to various industries. Networking within industry associations and organizations is essential to developing a public relations resource pool of contacts to learn about the Chicago job PR opportunities — be sure to use them to your full advantage.