Defying gravity

5 Feb

Do you remember what you thought when you heard that Britain had simultaneously recorded the highest ever numbers in employment alongside rising unemployment?

It’s the sort of challenge that makes my head hurt (I’m interested in economic history, but am not good with numbers).

Well, I face a similar bombardment of conflicting evidence most days of my working life. Every time I hear from a PR employer (tonight it was the deputy creative director of Freud Communications, a graduate from our course), I’m told that there’s a severe shortage of PR talent. Yet some students assure me they’ve gone through the Yellow Pages but can’t find a single work experience placement opportunity.

I hear of opportunities from time to time, but don’t know how effective noticeboards are. So I’ve started a page on my wiki to list job or placement opportunities. Of course, this opens them out beyond Leeds Met students. Good.

Here’s another paradox. There are more opportunities than ever before. But competition’s becoming even fiercer. Explain that.

3 Responses to “Defying gravity”

  1. James Ollerenshaw 06/02/2007 at 2:35 pm #

    I run an agency and take on one or two interns each year, but find them surprisingly difficult to find. I remember my enthusiasm for finding an internship when I was an undergraduate, but either jobs are too easy to come by these days or today’s PR students are getting lazy, becuase the response rate to my ads for an intern (at Westminster University) could be counted on Homer Simpson’s left hand. I’ll certainly be adding my next vacancy to your Wiki, though London may be a bit too far from Leeds.

  2. Michael Higgins 07/02/2007 at 12:54 am #

    I think our [students] possible inability to find a placement comes more from fear than lack of positions. Many of us have been through the part-time job market already, and been through the demoralising experience of sending out dozens of CVs only to be ignored.
    Knowing that it’s a milestone we have to cross doesn’t make it any less daunting to make that first call (or even click ‘Send’), nor does it take much silence in return for the entire process to seem impossible. ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ has always been much more useful than no information at all.

  3. David Child 09/02/2007 at 8:35 pm #

    In response to Michael’s comment, my one piece of advice to any budding PR is tailoring. Just as you would with a press release, adapt your CV and approach letter to suit the company to which you’re applying.
    As someone who reads lots of CVs from candidates, the one thing that excites me the most is recognising someone who has taken the time to at least read your website and show an understanding of our team and ethos. Consider your audience and put yourself in their shoes. Highlight what you will add and make sure what you write is free from typos, grammar errors and spelling mistakes.
    Keep tailoring as your mantra and you will significantly increase your chances of standing out in a crowded marketplace.

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