People with no previous experience of PR probably won’t have a clue what a career in the industry entails, or exactly what it is PR professionals do on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, a career in PR is a far cry from the champagne drinking and celebrity hobnobbing image that is portrayed in the likes of Ab fab and Sex in the City, but yes, it does have its perks from time to time.
So how did I end up working in PR? Well, after graduating from university with a BA (Hons) in Fashion: Media & Promotion, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. I knew I enjoyed marketing and PR, so thought I would pursue these as career options. After returning from travelling in 2011, I applied for work experience and internships to build up my CV and managed to secure a three month internship at Cobb PR. After my three months was up they offered me a job and the rest, as they say, is history!
Working at a fast paced agency like Cobb PR meant that I had to learn quickly and in January 2013 I decided to enroll on the year-long CIPR Advanced Certificate in PR course to enhance my PR skills further.
If you’re looking to kick-start your career in PR, then these would be my top tips:
Get as much experience as you can and build up your CV. Being in a live PR environment will also help you understand exactly what a career in PR includes.
Stand out from the crowd. PR is the second most popular industry graduates now want to work in after teaching, so it can get competitive. Think about what will make an employer remember you after an interview. Maybe start a blog or YouTube channel to showcase your writing skills and personality.
Practice writing press releases and remember to use the grammar and spell checker. My grammar wasn’t my strong point when I started at Cobb PR, so I took the time to teach myself about the importance of grammar and my writing soon improved.
Learn relevant skills. Knowing how to write a press release isn’t enough, a PR professional also needs to know how to run a campaign across various social media channels, film and edit a video and have an understanding of design. Although most agencies will have a dedicated person, or team, to take care of these elements of a campaign, if you understand them you will have more appeal for a potential employer.
Read about the industry. The world of PR is constantly evolving. I would recommend visiting the PR week website as a starting point and getting yourself familiar with the movers and shakers of the industry. The Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR) and Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) websites also have some great reading material including webinars and blogs.