Sarah Stimson is answering my Four PR Questions (#4PRQs) today. Insights from her website and book have most certainly given me many hints that I’m now using during the interviews and while interning and networking. Sarah is Chief Executive of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, editor of PRcareers.co.uk and author of ‘How to get a job in PR.’
MK: How did you get into industry?
SS: I fell into PR recruitment and headhunting after previously working in IT. I’d just got back from bumming around North America for a year in 2002 when I got a job at Taylor Bennett, the executive search firm, and have stayed in the recruitment and training area of the PR industry every since. I worked at a couple of other PR recruiters and headhunters before going back to TB and have been working at the Taylor Bennett Foundation since 2007. I’ve been really lucky to work in an industry I find incredibly interesting and the work of the Foundation is both challenging and very rewarding.
What are the most desired skill you are looking for in graduates?
I’ve recruited nearly 200 graduates over the last nine years and 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. I’m quite often asked for advice and guidance by students and graduates and the few who say thank you afterwards really stick in my mind – being polite makes them stand out.
I’m quite often asked for advice and guidance by students and graduates and the few who say thank you afterwards really stick in my mind – being polite makes them stand out.
How can PR graduates take advantage of the digital space get attention of the agencies and other potential employers?
I’m always amazed that students and grads don’t take more advantage of Twitter. Perhaps they’re more engaged on other social media but it’s worth remembering that people of my generation are still using Twitter regularly so if you want to reach employers it’s your opportunity to reach senior PR people directly. It’s a brilliant way of building an online network and of sharing your ideas and work – write a blog and get it out there.
I’m always amazed that students and grads don’t take more advantage of Twitter. Perhaps they’re more engaged on other social media but it’s worth remembering that people of my generation are still using Twitter regularly so if you want to reach employers it’s your opportunity to reach senior PR people directly.
What is the most undiscovered area in the industry that could be potentially used as a dissertation topic?
Diversity and inclusion in PR is a subject very close to my heart and there’s massive potential to explore it as a subject. The Taylor Bennett Foundation is focused on improving ethnic diversity but there’s also LGBT, women, social mobility, and disability to consider which are all areas where there needs to be improvement in the industry.
Sarah can be found tweeting under the @GoooRooo handle and writing on her own blog. She also runs the PRcareers website with the stratospheric amount of insights into careers in PR. Her book ‘How to get a job in PR‘ is one of my favourite PR books out there. Make sure you also visit Taylor Bennett Foundation’s website.
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!