Though a majority of press secretaries work in Washington, D.C., others work in state capitals and major cities all across the country. Press secretaries work for local, state, and federal government officials. They also find work with public relations agencies, and the press offices of large corporations. Celebrities and others in the public eye also hire press agents to help them control rumors and publicity.
Press secretary jobs are not often advertised, and there is no predetermined path to success. It is recommended that you make connections with people in both politics and the media. Volunteer for political campaigns, and also advocate for public policy issues of interest to you. You can make good connections, and gain valuable experience, working or interning in the offices of your state capital. Ask your school's career services office for assistance with finding internship and part-time job opportunities. You might also try for an internship with one of your state's members of Congress; contact their offices in Washington, D.C., for internship applications. If you're more interested in the writing and producing aspects of the career, work for local newspapers or the broadcast news media; or work as a producer for a television production crew or for an ad agency that specializes in political campaigns. A political consulting firm may hire assistants for writing and for commercial production. Whereas some people pursue the career directly by working in the press offices of political candidates, others find their way into political consulting after having worked as lawyers, lobbyists, or journalists.
A press secretary who has worked closely with a successful government official may advance into a higher staff position, like chief of staff or legislative director. When their job is completed, press secretaries may move on to other jobs in media. Network TV, cable, and radio news departments also hire successful media relations experts to serve as political analysts on the air. Some press secretaries move on to write columns for newspapers and syndicates and publish books about their insights into politics.
Tips for Entry
Work as a reporter for your school newspaper to hone your research, interview, and writing and editing skills.
Become involved in local elections by campaigning for candidates.
Read about politics in magazines, newspapers, and online news sources. Follow politicians on social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about their ideas and actions.