Lucy, HR assistant at PR company PHA media talks about what steps you can take to kick start your career in the PR industry, whether you have a relevant degree or not. If you’re interested in a career in PR, read on and don’t forget you can come and talk to us for additional guidance.
The PR industry is exciting, fast-paced and always on the lookout for graduate talent.
PR has something for everyone. Whether you are a creative media graduate, an English student with a flair for writing, or a sports fan with an interest in events. Many graduates are considering a career in PR because of its wide subject area, it’s focus on creating exciting news pieces, and the fact that no two days are the same.
Getting into the PR industry can be tricky to negotiate without specific experience in the sector or a specialist degree. To stand out from the competition and gain your place in a graduate PR role we’ve compiled the following top tips.
- Research the industry
Whether you are interested in working in house or in an agency, graduate roles in PR are frequently advertised and it’s important to make sure you pick the right role for you.
If you’ve researched the company, you will feel confident talking about their successful campaigns and what makes their offering different from their competitors. This not only demonstrates an understanding of the mechanics of PR but that you recognise their areas of expertise, which will give credibility to your application.
Ask questions and engage the interviewer in a discussion about the company’s successful PR campaigns that you feel passionate about.
If you can list their key clients, express an interest in their founders, and congratulate them on any awards they may have won (the PR industry loves awards!) then all this knowledge will add substance and personality to your interview.
- Pick the right company for you
Whilst having a good knowledge of the company is great for impressing the interviewer, it’s vital that you understand them as an employer and how they match up to what you’re looking for.
Ask about their working culture, training programme, and appraisal structure to show that you are interested in developing within their team.
- Write a PR focused CV
Your CV is the employers first look at your skills and decides whether you get a chance to impress in person at an interview.
Start your CV with a personal summary that captures the employer’s attention and states your employment aims. Many entry level candidates won’t have previous PR experience. To demonstrate that you have the transferable skills to move into PR try to present your experience in a way that tells the story you want it to.
If you’re a keen writer for your student newspaper, enjoy getting involved with event planning and work in a shop in your spare time, then explain the relevance of these experiences and how they have prepared you for working in PR.
- Use social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are all being used by PRs for their clients, so make sure you’re using these channels as well. Keep up to date with their latest trends because as a PR you will be expected to use them daily.
Social media is a popular place to advertise work opportunities so all that brushing up may find you a job in the process. As well as Twitter and Facebook, employers use LinkedIn to find candidates for graduate roles and so it’s a good idea to regularly update your profile and connect with companies you’re interested in working for.
- Be passionate
This might sound like an obvious one but it’s surprising just how far genuine enthusiasm can go when applying for a job.
It’s refreshing for a company to meet a candidate who is eager to get stuck in and has the enthusiasm to get this attitude across at interview.
Demonstrate that you are excited to learn and build upon the areas you are less familiar with. It’s important to explain that whilst you aren’t a PR expert, you have the drive to become one, and it’s this positive approach that will stand out.
- Take the internship and keep in contact
If you’re not ready to take the plunge into a graduate role, internships and work experience are a great insight into PR and add important experience to your CV.
Work experience will give you access to the day to day activities of PR such as reviewing the media, writing press releases, contributing in client brainstorms and speaking to journalists.
Here at PHA Media we support several work experience candidates each year and provide them with a rounded insight into PR.
You can also find out more about the placements and graduate roles on our website http://pha-media.com/contact/recruitment/
Want to find out more about a career in PR? Check out this blog post by History graduate Ian, or book an appointment for additional guidance.