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If you want to become an entertainment publicist, you’ll need academic and professional experience in the field of communications and public relations, as well as extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry. Whether you plan to become an entertainment publicist on a self-employed basis or to work with a larger firm, strong verbal and written communication skills are essential to a successful career as an entertainment publicist. Firms or agencies that handle representation for clients in the entertainment industry may vary in the qualifications they expect from a candidate who wants to become an entertainment publicist.
While some PR firms place a high value on academic credentials, such as a certificate or degree in communications, others may be more results-oriented and place a higher value on the candidate’s professional track record. The best strategy to optimize your chances of being a desirable candidate for a firm or agency is to work on developing both the academic and work experience sections of your resume. Highlight accomplishments such as your academic credentials, as well as any communications plans, media releases, or other material you’ve created.
Courses or programs in communications and public relations will teach you the skills necessary to become an entertainment publicist, including how to deliver an effective message to the public and how to use various media to the advantage of your client. They’ll also teach you the best way to liaise between the media and your client, whether you’re arranging interviews or preparing promotional material for public consumption. In this capacity, an academic background in journalism could also give you an advantage for a position in entertainment publicity. A working knowledge of how the media operates can give you an idea of which types of questions may be asked of your client during interviews and public appearances.
The easiest way to get a foot in the door professionally with a firm or agency that employs entertainment publicists is to intern or volunteer with one. Watching professional entertainment publicists working alongside agents, managers, lawyers and other entertainment professionals can give you valuable first-hand experience and help forge connections in the industry. Even unpaid internships and volunteer terms can pay off later by giving you a competitive edge over another candidate who wants to become an entertainment publicist but lacks prior related experience.