Top Tips for Securing a Grad Job in PR
16th July 2018
Sophie is a 21-year-old graduate from the University of Lincoln. After having just completed her degree in Public Relations, she joins the team at Eden PR as a PR Assistant.
With graduation season upon us and having just started my first full-time job here at Eden, I thought it would be useful to share my tips for securing a graduate job in the world of public relations. Whether you’re about to go into your first year at university, or have just finished your degree, hopefully these tips will benefit you in some way.
To degree to not to degree?
Firstly, it is essential to have some type of formal qualification, whether that be a degree or another type of undergraduate certificate. I studied Public Relations at the University of Lincoln, however, it’s not uncommon for PR consultants to come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including journalism. As long as you’re a good verbal and written communicator, with a strong gauge on what makes a story, there is no hard and fast rule on the path you should take.
Load up on work experience
The most important tip I can give anyone hunting for their first job is to do as much relevant work experience as you can – it shows you have initiative and drive and allows you to make connections you might need later on. Working for free (or sometimes with expenses paid if you’re lucky) isn’t all that glamorous, but it can help you decide whether you want to work in the industry and can give you a head start on your competition. For instance, at 16 I began my first work experience role working in a woman’s flat in London for her start-up jewellery business. Experience comes in all shapes and sizes!
Companies will usually advertise on their careers pages whether they accept work placements, but you can always pick up the phone or drop them an email. Or ask your lecturers for a point in the right direction.
Have a stellar CV
Your CV is essentially your shop window – it’s how you will sell yourself to employers. Having a well-designed CV, filled with relevant work experience is a great starting point and will help you get your foot in the door. You can find free CV templates online, in addition to some great job search tools you can use to find the type of role you’re looking for. LinkedIn’s job search is my personal favourite, as many companies post vacancies on there and it’s easy to navigate. It’s also worth making sure your personal LinkedIn profile is up to date and professional as you can almost guarantee prospective employers will look at it.
Once you’re through to the interview stage, knowing how to impress is a whole other beast. PR is a competitive industry, with graduate schemes receiving hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. You want to put your best foot forward, so do your research on the company so you know what makes them tick. Bring a portfolio of work if you can as this can show what you’re capable of. At the end of the day, if you’re passionate and can talk about yourself well, you’re halfway there. Another bonus is being knowledgeable on the industry – read up on relevant publications and be ready to discuss your opinions on current affairs.
Coping with rejection
PR is competitive, and graduate jobs are in hot demand. Therefore, it’s likely you won’t be successful for the first position you apply for (if you are, hats off to you!). However, this isn’t always a bad thing and you shouldn’t take it too personally – think of the process as an experience, and once you’ve done one you’ll be even more prepared for the next. Likewise, if you have the chance to ask for feedback then take it, it’s useful to know what areas you can improve on.
Working for Eden
I’ve been working at Eden for around two weeks now, and I can certainly say that PR is still very much the career I want to pursue. Working as a PR Assistant means that I work across nearly all of our accounts, so no two days are ever quite the same, which is great! I was eager to land this role so that I could get my foot onto the career ladder, and so I’m very excited to see what the future holds.
To sum up, here are some of my most valuable tips:
- Be proactive – work experience/a job aren’t just going to come to you, you have to go out and find them!
- Don’t procrastinate – if you want a job, start applying! The whole process can take a while so start as early as you can.
- Come prepared to any interviews and be ready to sell yourself as best as you can.
- Don’t let rejection get you down – it’s a chance to learn and there will always be more opportunities around the corner.