Easter holidays are over and I’m delighted to be bringing the first (out of two!) #4PRQs (Four PR Questions) this week. “Most recruit on attitude” says today’s interviewee Kirsty Leighton. Kirsty is a managing parter at Milk & Honey PR. She has over 20 years’ experience developing and delivering integrated communications campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands.
What was your way to the industry?
My degree is in politics and economics. When I finished, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had some friends in PR and they just loved their jobs. Every day was different. So, I wrote to all 150 of the PR Week top 150. They collectively told me to ‘go away’. I wrote back saying, ‘really’? And from that one act of persistence I got 15 interviews and 10 job offers. I then went to the PRCA to see which had the best training programme and that is how it all started.
Lesson one, persistence pays.
What is the biggest mistake of junior people you employ, and how can it be fixed?
No-one expects you to know very much when you start in the industry. Irrespective of whether or not you have a relevant degree. Work experience or an intern placement in PR is important. Demonstrate you are interested in the industry and push your way in. What we do expect is a hunger to learn. A curious, open mind. A willingness to get stuck in and ask lots of questions. This is a people and relationship business and we are providing a service. Attitude is king. Everything else can be taught.
This is a people and relationship business and we are providing a service. Attitude is king.
Lesson two, most recruit on attitude.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the social and digital platforms, in order to gain attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
Everyone in our industry is expected to both craft a voice for clients and have a voice themselves. When you go for meetings prospective employers and clients will have looked you up online – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Think about the persona you are reflecting. Be visible but be considered. If you have a specific passion for an industry sector or a type of communications reflect that.
Think about the persona you are reflecting. Be visible but be considered.
Lesson three, consider your own online brand.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be used as a dissertation topic?
Find something that is meaningful to you. That will give you a point of difference getting started in your career. Increasingly we are looking for people that can understand cross marketing disciplines. Look for points of intersection. Analytics, insights, psychology they help us understand our audiences and measurement of meaningful behavioural responses are useful. Visual design and video production are also helpful in creative campaign development.
Lesson four, look at broader marketing touchpoints.
#4PRQs (Four PR Questions) is a weekly series on the blog. I’m 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!