The #4PRQs (Four PR Questions) series has been quite popular on my blog. Throughout the fifteen weeks of writing this blog, I interviewed fifteen shrewd and inspiring practitioners that were kind enough to share their career insights. They shared their advice on how to get noticed by the employers in the noisy digital space and their tips on securing job in the comms industry. My mission with the series is to benefit PR students and graduates, and help them get inspired by some of the greatest minds in the communications industry. This post summarises the series so far.
Different positions require different skill sets and experience, but all roles in PR require critical thinking, excellent written and verbal communications and an insatiable curiosity about the world around us.
Be connected, follow agency twitter handles, read their blogs, LinkedIn with their MDs and HR leaders, be sponge-like in your appetite to get to know potential employers.
Meet people. Network like your career depends upon it (it does). Be cheeky -the most important person in the room is often the most ignored one, because people are afraid to approach them. They really don’t bite (that often).
When interviewing, I’m looking for somebody who’s on top of the news agenda as well as current and emerging trends, who understands digital beyond simply using social media for personal reasons, who has a work ethic and a positive outlook.
Influencers have always been important. The right whisper into right ear always makes the difference in the world, but the difference now is that influencers operate at scale.
I always look for a genuine interest in communications, a knowledge of the media landscape (do they read a paper occasionally, can they talk about broadcast and online media?), strong writing skills, good attention to detail, the ability to be highly organised and having good manners.
If you have a placement or an interview don’t just say you are creative or hardworking, show it. Come in with some fully formed ideas for one or two of their clients to demonstrate that you can’t just do the graduate job but have potential to offer more as a long-term investment.
Always have a plan. Look at jobs that might be five years away and work hard to ensure you have the skills, experience and qualifications to get them in three. Keep track of all you’ve achieved – it helps on dark days and also when you need interview examples.
The great thing about today’s media – which wasn’t the case when I started out – is that you don’t have to wait for anyone to commission you to write a blog, make a film, record a song.
Engaging with potential employers on social media and showing you’re abreast of key issues is a great way to impress. Strong writing gives you natural stand out.
The most important skill that a comms practitioner needs is the ability to write strong, journalistic English. This is true regardless of whether you want to focus on media relations, social media, content marketing or internal comms, because writing is a building block for everything else.
Be brave and don’t be afraid to stick your head above the parapet – your opinion is just as valid as someone who has been in the business for a while.
Blogging is a valuable way to improve your writing skills, show industry knowledge, and discuss activities you’re getting involved with.
Networking is essential. Whether that is through joining an industry body to develop your knowledge and insight, or taking advantage of social media to build connections.
Create engaging content and make sure potential employers see it. The biggest challenge for PR employers is creative talent that “gets” and lives “engagement”.
Four PR Questions (#4PRQs) is a weekly series on the blog. I am on the mission to help PR graduates (including myself) make right decisions about their future careers, by asking industry leaders for an advice.
Would you like to give me a feedback or feature in the series? Drop me a line to kl.marcel [at] gmail.com or tweet me @marcelkl. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!