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NOC Code: NOC Code: 5124 Occupation: Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
This unit group includes specialists in public relations and communications who develop and implement communication and promotion strategies and information programs, publicize activities and events, and maintain media relations on behalf of businesses, governments and other organizations, and for performers, athletes, writers and other talented individuals. They are employed by consulting firms, corporations, associations, government, social agencies, museums, galleries, public interest groups, and cultural and other organizations, or they may be self-employed. Agents such as entertainment, literary and sports agents are included in this unit group. This unit group includes specialists in public relations and communications who develop and implement communication and promotion strategies and information programs, publicize activities and events, and maintain media relations on behalf of businesses, governments and other organizations, and for performers, athletes, writers and other talented individuals. They are employed by consulting firms, corporations, associations, government, social agencies, museums, galleries, public interest groups, and cultural and other organizations, or they may be self-employed. Agents such as entertainment, literary and sports agents are included in this unit group.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

Reading Text
  • Read letters and email from co-workers, clients, public, members and contractors. For example, pubic relations and communications professionals read letters of complaint to identify potential solutions. They read email from co-workers to obtain details to include in newsletters and to learn about meetings and events. (2)
  • Scan daily newspapers, news magazines, media clippings and electronic news alerts. For example, public relations and communications professionals scan newspapers to identify articles that mention their organization or the primary activities of their organization. They use this information to help identify media opportunities and responses. (3)
  • Scan trade journals and magazines to identify relevant articles to read in detail in order to keep up to date. For example, public relations and communications professionals read articles in magazines produced by related organizations to note activities and events. Periodicals may be related to professional practice and to the activities of the organization. In the latter case, content may be technical in nature. (3)
  • Skim press releases and newsletters from related organisations and government bodies to stay abreast of initiatives, campaigns and activities. For example, public relations and communications professionals read press releases to identify media opportunities for their own organization and to keep up to date on government policy. Fundraisers review newsletters from other community organizations to learn about potentially conflicting fundraising events. (3)
  • Read texts to edit and revise. Read texts written by co-workers, contractors and yourself to ensure language, content, tone and key messages are appropriate for the audience and purpose. Texts may be lengthy and may also include suggestions and recommendations from other reviewers. For example, review funding proposals to ensure all necessary content has been appropriately presented, event flyers to ensure the content and style is appropriate for the intended audience, reports about contentious topics to ensure content is presented in a balanced manner, Intranet and Internet websites to revise stale content and magazine submissions to proofread. (4)
  • Review contracts. For example, public relations and communications professionals review service contracts to book event locations. Entertainment agents review lengthy recording and distribution contracts to evaluate adequacy. (4)
  • Read reports, background documents, research and position papers to understand topics and summarize and synthesize content for publication. Texts may be lengthy, complex and use new and unfamiliar terminology specific to the organization, industry and topic. For example, heritage counsellors review and summarize historical notes on the toponymy of city streets, public relations and communications professionals in healthcare read reports about the implications of changing diagnostic procedures and strategic communications professionals read consultant and staff reports to understand controversial topics. (4)
  • Study reference materials to learn. For example, consult grammar and style reference manuals when preparing texts and communications texts. Read communications texts to learn how to conduct communications audits. In some cases, consult multiple references sources on the same topic. (4)
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  • Write email to co-workers, suppliers, colleagues and clients. For example, public relations and communications professionals respond to questions and requests via email, write emails to request information as well as to confirm details. (2)
  • Write letters to request, advise, welcome and explain. Letters must be clear and informative while also inspiring support for the organisation. For example, fundraisers write letters to solicit donations and sponsorships. Public relations and communications professionals write letters to welcome government appointees and to inform the public of changes to policies and practises that may upset the audience. Entertainment agents write letters to outline arrangements for performances. (3)
  • Write communications plans. For example, public relations and communications professionals draft, revise and finalize communications plans to describe challenges, goals, stakeholders, objectives, audiences, key messages, strategies, tactics, budget, slogan and evaluation criteria for communications initiatives. Strategic communications professionals write shorter plans to outline the strategy for addressing a potential problem for the organization immediately. (4)
  • Write text for funding proposals. The proposal must be consistent with the request for proposal's guidelines while convincingly illustrating the benefits to be derived. (4)
  • Write reports to update clients, funders, and the public. For example, self-employed communications professionals write reports to clients summarizing project outcomes and listing recommendations. Public relations and communications professionals write reports to funders and the public summarizing research efforts. Although the content may be technical in nature, language must be comprehensible to the intended audience. (4)
  • Write press releases, media backgrounders, fact sheets and lobbying kits to inform and inspire interest. Writing follows a standard format; key messages, purpose, organizational mandate and target audience dictate content. For example, public relations and communications professionals write press releases in response to topics already in the media and prepare lobbying kits to present the organization's perspective to the government. Entertainment agents write press releases to announce CD launches and concert details. (4)
  • Write informational and promotional texts for use in brochures, videos, newsletters, magazines and on websites to inform and engage. Content and tone must be appropriate for the intended audience and purpose, while furthering the organization's communications goals. For example, public relations and communications professionals write brochures and ad copy to describe and promote events and services, write annual reports, and write articles for newsletters and magazines to synthesize information. Fundraisers write text for donor recognition publications. Entertainment agents write biographies to promote artists. (5)
  • Write speaking points and speeches for yourself and others. Although they may be brief, the content and language must be appropriate to the occasion and the speaker's role. For example, a speech written for a dignitary to announce an event should be both formal and enthusiastic, whereas speaking points in response to a contentious matter should be deliberate and restrained. (5)
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Document Use
  • Complete entry forms. For example, public relations and communications professionals complete evaluation forms to evaluate suppliers, complete expense reimbursement forms to summarize expenses incurred and enter data into database entry forms to note new contacts and supporters. (2)
  • Enter data into tables. For example, public relations and communications professionals monitor project schedules by entering information into calendars and timeline tables and enter address and contact information into distribution lists. Fundraisers enter data into tables to track corporations approached for donations, method used and results. (2)
  • Read data in tables and lists. For example, public relations and communications professionals refer to conference and event attendee lists to identify who to expect at an event, read supplier, sub-contractor and media lists to locate contact information and read to extract statistics about their organization, such as admissions and discharges from their hospital, to include in communications materials. Fundraisers read donor lists to update. (2)
  • Extract data from graphs. For example, public relations and communications professionals obtain data from graphs produced by Statistics Canada to help illustrate the needs their organizations fill, interpret graphs illustrating donor characteristics, review graphs created by graphic artists for accuracy and examine graphs illustrating company and organizational expenditures to identify key messages to include in communications materials. (3)
  • Locate data on forms. For example, public relations and communications professionals extract survey responses to summarize and synthesize, review consent forms to ensure subjects have allowed the use of their image and read incident report forms to gain background information before issuing press releases. Fundraisers locate donor information and donation amounts on donation forms. Entertainment agents review signed contracts to ensure they are complete. (3)
  • Examine sketches, photographs, forms, images and draft layouts of publications to evaluate quality and appropriateness. For example, public relations and communications professionals review sketches, thumbnails and draft layouts of publications provided by graphic artists to determine whether the placement and size of text and images will communicate the intended messages. They examine, and in some cases select, photographs to include in informational and promotional publications. They review the layout and content of forms to update and clarify. Entertainment agents evaluate draft CD covers and promotional posters for artists. (4)
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Computer Use
  • Use spreadsheet software to create and modify spreadsheets which organize event or project information and expenses. Insert formulae to sum values and calculate means. Multiple spreadsheets within workbooks are created to keep details organized. (2)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, use digital cameras to take photographs and CD burning software to store and to share photographs with graphic designers. (2)
  • Use the Internet to find information. For example, use company Intranet web pages to locate contact information for co-workers and use Internet browsers to search for facts and figures to include in promotional and informational materials. Bookmark web pages and group bookmarks for future reference. (2)
  • Use word processing to create letters, press releases, reports, speeches and work schedules using standard formatting features to draw attention to details in the text. Create newsletters and reports that require extensive formatting such as the use of text boxes and importing of images into the document. (3)
  • Use databases. For example, use database programs such as Fundraiser Jr to monitor donor activities. Create and perform database searches to sort and retrieve data, create new records, modify existing records and merge contact information from databases with other programs to send the same document to multiple recipients. (3)
  • Exchange email and attachments with co-workers, colleagues at partner organizations and clients. In some cases, create email distribution lists, and format email using graphics to effectively communicate information in the body of email messages. Use software, such as e-Campaign to send personalized emails to groups. Use the calendar features of communications software to schedule meetings. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create and modify presentation slides using PowerPoint, manage website content using Dreamweaver, create internal newsletters using Publisher, create fact sheets using Page Maker and convert press releases created in Word to portable document format using Adobe Acrobat. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Respond to questions posed by the general public and clients about activities and services. For example, heritage counsellors provide information about plaques commemorating a person or event. Self-employed public relations and communications professionals respond to questions about availability. Entertainment agents respond to requests about artists and potential bookings. (1)
  • Direct and instruct junior staff and co-workers to achieve communications objectives. For example, public relations and communications professionals assign tasks to subordinates and direct announcers recording promotional messages. They may also persuade co-workers they do not supervise to adhere to communications guidelines set for the organization. (2)
  • Present and discuss project objectives, plans, approaches and status to co-workers, colleagues, supervisors and clients. Work with teams and may be responsible for leading these teams. Collaborate with counterparts at other organizations to plan joint initiatives. Present draft options, solicit opinions and persuade team members that an approach will be successful. For example, public relations and communications professionals share strategies to address controversial topics with the media and present ideas on changes to communications tactics to improve functionality. (3)
  • Call potential donors, members, the public and the media to persuade. Effectively describe the organization and value and purpose of initiatives to garner support. For example, public relations and communications professionals call to request financial support from individuals and corporations, they call media personnel to encourage them to cover events and they call upset clients to address complaints. Entertainment agents persuade media to interview artists. (3)
  • Represent your organization at public events and consultations. Greet guests, deliver presentations and speeches to promote the organization, solicit donations and introduce events. For example, public relations and communications professionals describe the services of their organization to potential members and take on the role of host during events. (3)
  • Conduct formal and informal interviews. Select questions to maximize the amount of information gathered while keeping subjects comfortable. For example, public relations and communications professionals interview subjects for magazine articles to obtain thoughts, ideas and quotes. They engage co-workers in conversations to collect information about concerns to address in internal newsletters. They ask specialists to explain technical terminology to gain a better understanding of content to be communicated. (3)
  • Discuss and negotiate tasks and terms with service providers. For example, public relations and communications professionals request photographers provide alternate photographs that more adequately meet the need. They discuss site features to select venues for events. They negotiate contracts, terms and deadlines with writers, designers and printers. (3)
  • Answer questions posed by the media in person, on the phone and during live radio and television interviews. Describe the organization, specific initiatives and activities and in some cases solicit donations. Be clear, succinct and persuasive to achieve the desired outcome. When faced with situations where providing information may lead to negative media coverage, carefully respond to questions so as to appear co-operative while avoiding potentially controversial content. In addition, instruct spokespeople on handling the media. Review potential questions, challenges and instruct on the delivery of key messages. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts. For example, public relations and communications professionals review invoices from freelance writers to ensure quotes match charges and that rates, including applicable taxes, have been calculated accurately. They calculate invoices for magazine ads given the size of the ad and applicable taxes and discounts. Entertainment agents calculate the value of recording contracts and how much they and the artist should be compensated at the end of a tour given concert receipts, the agreed upon payment rates, expenses and per diems. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Compare service options from different suppliers to identify the best value. For example, compare the facility rental fees at different hotels to select a space for an event and compare the cost of print runs to identify the most cost effective option. Suppliers may offer different combinations of services and use differing price structures. (3)
  • Prepare financial summaries and projections. For example, public relations and communications professionals summarize travel expenses by multiplying distance by per kilometre rates, summing meal, hotel and transportation costs as applicable. They summarize how a project's budget was spent, categorizing and summing expenses for all payable items. Self-employed public relations and communications professionals summarize costs to determine profits. Fundraisers calculate potential revenue for fundraising events given ticket price, expected participation rates and event costs. (3)
  • Create budgets for projects, events and communications plans. Monitor and adjust budgets to accommodate unexpected costs. For example, public relations and communications professionals responsible for planning events take into account facility and equipment rental fees, food and beverage costs, speaker and entertainer rates and event ticket price. Communications professionals who develop and implement communications plans identify costs associated with each tactic to be employed over an extended period. (4)
  • Develop, monitor and adjust project schedules that include key activities, phases, responsibility, task interdependencies and deadlines. Schedules may be for short or long-term projects. Often, these schedules involve activities carried out by yourself, co-workers and contractors. For example, public relations and communications professionals create, monitor and adjust newsletter and publication schedules, scheduling writing, design, photography, approval and printing. (4)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare ticket sales to expected sales to identify whether additional promotion may be required. (1)
  • Compare data over time. For example, public relations and communications professionals compare web traffic and radio listeners from one period to another to identify notable changes. Fundraisers identify the number of donations and the value of donations over time and public relations and communications professionals identify whether audience demographics have changed. (2)
  • Collect and analyze data. Use the data to support the need for communications interventions and to help illustrate key messages in publications. For example, public relations and communications professionals generate statistics to describe survey results, such as teacher's reactions to school kits distributed for educational purposes. They collate binary and scale responses, calculate response rates, means and percentage of respondents by response to evaluate the success of the communications tool. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate event attendees to select venues accordingly and to judge the popularity and success of events. (2)
  • Estimate the number and length of articles and number of photographs for publications. Take into account the cost of photographs, the overall length of the publication and the balance you would like to achieve between the images and text. Use past publications as a guide. (2)
  • Estimate quantities. For example, public relations and communications professionals estimate print runs and the number of brochures to bring to events considering the number to be distributed, expected popularity and how to maximize value. They estimate the quantity of promotional materials for sale to produce or to bring to an event considering the expected popularity. Under-estimating could lead to a loss in sales, over-estimating could result in excess merchandise. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Public relations and communications professionals are responsible for planning and organizing their own job tasks. They typically work on multiple projects at any given time; as such they must set priorities and sequence tasks in order to maximize efficiency. Given the range of projects on which they work at any one time, conflicting time demands are inevitable. Plans often require adjustments to incorporate input from co-workers, colleagues at partner organizations and contractors. While managing tasks and deadlines associated with longer-term projects, many must also revise daily plans to take advantage of media opportunities as well devise communications approaches to address situations that could otherwise damage the reputation of their organization. Responding quickly increases the likelihood that the situation can be resolved. Depending on the structure of the organization and the size of the communications department, they may be assigned work tasks by supervisors, co-ordinate work tasks with co-workers or identify work tasks on their own. Public relations and communications professionals plan and organize the work of administrative and junior staff, as well as the work of contractors. In some work settings, they also co-ordinate the efforts of members and volunteers. They are often involved in both short and long-term planning for their organizations, as communications plans and strategies both affect and are affected by organizational aims. Public relations and communications professionals at a senior level work alongside senior managers and contribute to strategic planning. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Decide to purchase advertising space or sponsor events. Consider the expense and the potential for the gesture to achieve overall communications objectives. Advertising and sponsorships are used judiciously. (2)
  • Select individuals to invite to meetings and events. In large organizations, public relations and communications professionals select the stakeholders that should be involved in plan and strategy development. If committees are too large, decision-making is impeded; if committees are too small, organizational buy-in may be compromised. Pubic relations and communications professionals select key individuals to invite to events, including media representatives that are likely to report on the event and organization in a positive manner. (2)
  • Choose suppliers and service providers. For example, public relations and communications professionals select contractors to develop learning kits for educational programs, freelance writers, photographers, graphic designers and printers for publications, and venues, caterers, hosts and entertainment for events. Entertainment agents select band members for tours and venues for performances. When selecting contractors they consider project needs, cost, expertise, reputation and experience. When selecting venues they consider location, cost, quality and suitability for the event. (3)
  • Select distribution methods and communications tools. For example, decide to either mail, email, post newsletters or some combination by considering the target audience, costs, benefits and limitations of each approach. Choose to post newsletters on websites in addition to sending them via email to provide information to stakeholders who have set up robust span filters. Select communications tools by considering the needs of the audience, the purpose of communication and the feasibility of developing the tool given time constraints. (3)
  • Decide to share information. Identify topics for which a communication intervention is required by keeping abreast of employees' and public's concerns, news reports, reviewing press releases from government agencies and related organizations. For example, public relations and communications professionals decide to issue press releases and news briefs to the media, their members, clients and customers and decide to share news with internal stakeholders either in print or through meetings. Sharing too much information too often may result in important information being missed; not sending out enough information may affect the reputation of the organization or may limit communications opportunities. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Encounter challenges in obtaining content for publications and press releases. For example, encounter challenges identifying and securing interviews with subjects for magazine articles and obtaining event information in a timely manner from co-workers to include in newsletters. Identify efficient ways to obtain the particulars, alternative sources and ways to work around incomplete and inadequate information. (2)
  • Face disagreements when planning, implementing and evaluating communications initiatives. For example, an editorial advisory committee may disagree on content for publications, co-workers may disagree on logistics for events, spokespeople may disagree with key messages and committees may not recognize the value of communications initiatives. They listen to suggestions, provide explanations and try to work to achieve consensus without alienating co-workers. (2)
  • Encounter dissatisfied customers, clients, members and donors. For example, a donor may complain that they have not received sufficient recognition for their donation and a customer at an event may complain that a promised ticket is unavailable. Identify ways to appease the customer, client, member and donor without setting unrealistic expectations for the future. (2)
  • Discover that incomplete, inadequate, inaccurate and stale content has been communicated in publications, websites and to the media. For example, a spokesperson fails to clearly articulate key messages and the media misunderstands a topic. They identify strategies to implement the corrections to ensure that inconsistencies in messaging are resolved. (3)
  • Face significant deficiencies on the day of events. For example, attendees do not arrive as expected, performers are prevented from travelling safely and equipment failures prevent events from proceeding as planned. Quickly identify solutions that address these deficiencies. For example, an entertainment agent faced with an artist unable to perform as scheduled must determine whether to cancel the event, offer other entertainment or refund tickets. (3)
  • Realize there is insufficient time, money and human resources to complete work as planned. For example, find the budget has been reduced, that original time allocations are insufficient for project activities and that additional communications projects emerge due to unforeseen circumstances. Respond by reallocating resources to the most critical tasks first, identifying potential time and money savings and noting these challenges for future reference. (3)
  • Encounter suppliers who do not meet contract obligations. For example, encounter freelance writers who back out of assignments, historians who submit inadequate research and performers who arrive late. These difficulties are exacerbated when time is short. Resolve the situation by identifying other suppliers, noting challenges with the supplier for future reference and where expedient and possible, working with the supplier to communicate and clarify expectations. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about potential suppliers and contractors by consulting listings and asking colleagues and co-workers for recommendations. (2)
  • Find information about industry trends, public's perception, concerns and interests by listening to television news, skimming newspapers and news clips, news magazines, scanning media websites, reviewing email alerts and listening to the public during events and consultations. (3)
  • Identify sources and locate information to develop communication strategies, plans and publications. Read background papers and reports prepared internally, speak to co-workers, interview subjects, lead consultations and conduct research. Synthesize and distil information when faced with topics that are complex and multi-faceted. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the suitability of contractors. Consider the project, the overall cost, the ideas presented, and the contractor's reputation and experience. Apply past experience both with the same contractor and with other service providers. For example, evaluate the suitability of contractors to develop websites or write articles for publication. Consider the quality of work submitted, project objectives and costs to evaluate contractors once work is completed. These evaluations are used for future reference. (2)
  • Evaluate the ability of publications to communicate intended messages. Assess the quality of layouts, photographs, images, as well as the interaction between elements and judge the relevance, tone, clarity and level of detail of the text. Consider the publication, audience and purpose. For example, public relations and communications professionals evaluate all aspects of brochures at key points during development, and prior to printing, to make recommendations that will ultimately ensure the tool meets the organization's needs. They review proposals before they are submitted to funders or clients to ensure the content is consistent with requirements and presents ideas effectively. They judge the clarity, readability, usefulness and intuitiveness of the forms. (3)
  • Judge the significance of topics in the media to determine whether and how to respond. Consider the risks associated with action and inaction, recent misunderstandings that could resurface and ramifications and implications for the organization's image. (3)
  • Assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of communications interventions. Consider the audience, goals, objectives, organizational needs, budget, results of similar interventions and potential implications for the organization. This assessment takes place when creating communications plans, when deciding to undertake specific interventions such as promotions for an event and when evaluating the success of interventions. For example, public relations and communications professionals evaluate key messages to be used by spokespeople to ensure the content is sufficient, while limiting the potential for interrogation. They compare and contrast different communications approaches, such as promotional videos versus print campaigns, to identify advantageous and cost-effective solutions. Entertainment agents assess the ability of a concert tour to promote specific artists. (3)
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