New year, PR career

13 Jan

Careers I seem to have been busy giving careers advice recently.

I've also been discovering several new student and graduate blogs and enjoying learning about your journeys through life.

The careers advice is so consistent that I've decided to curate and aggregate the best advice for those embarking on a career in public relations.

There are three steps: join in at whichever point you feel you're at.

Step One: Before

Here are some things to be doing before you put in any job applications for paid, permanent work.

  • Do some PR for brand you. Are you blogging? Are you on Twitter? What does your social media profile say about you? Are you developing an online portfolio?
  • Listen and learn from these role models (three students and a graduate): Michael White, Clare Siobhan Callery, Lauren K Gray, Ben Cotton. (One thing you'll immediately notice is that they're all proficient in WordPress. Another is they mostly own their domain names).
  • If you don't have a PR qualification and you don't make it directly onto a graduate scheme offering training, then you should consider a professional course. These start with the CIPR's Foundation Award, which Karl Booton has just gained.
  • [Update] Come along to this free seminar in Leeds on 3 February: How to break into PR

Step Two: During

Interviews vary, but there are certain things you should consider, and questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • It's about them, not just about you. What do you know about them? What questions do you have for them? Why would you like to work there?
  • It's about the wider world: What are you reading? What are the headline news stories? What are this year's new trends?
  • It's about a profession: What is public relations and why are you suited to PR work?

Take note of Michael Higham's advice on applying for graduate schemes. And note Ben Cotton's list of 2011 graduate schemes.

Step Three: After

It's a mistake to think you've finished learning once you've graduated. You need to start all over again (and at a much higher level of intensity). Don't believe me? Listen to Justin McKeown:

'Pay your dues. When you are first starting off in a career in PR, you really need to ring fence a few years just for gaining good, hardworking, unglamorous experience. Get your head down and slog, rather than thinking about the glory.'

And take note of Katy Jameson's lessons from her first few weeks in a graduate job.

3 Responses to “New year, PR career”

  1. Ben Cotton 14/01/2011 at 9:39 am #

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the mention, that is very kind.
    Justin’s point certainly rings true – the first couple of years are about experiencing and learning as much as you can.
    We also work in an industry with an ever evolving skills set, so a desire for lifelong learning is essential for any aspiring PR.
    Thanks,
    Ben

  2. Michael White 14/01/2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Thanks for including me in this post. It has had so many RTs on Twitter!
    As always agree with the sentiments written here. Interesting that PR Students (and grad!) listed here have all chosen WordPress as their blogging platform. It seems that what we do personally shapes our recommendations to clients.
    If I have learnt anything it is the online skills we learn and grow up with as students will benefit our future PR careers.

  3. Emma 15/01/2011 at 6:23 pm #

    As you can see I took the advice on board straight away with a fresher layout and a brand new post.

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