So you’ve just left university and you’re hankering after a job in PR. What should you be doing? Here are my ten top tips.
1) Treat job hunting like a job. Get up, have breakfast then sit down at your computer and apply for a minimum of five jobs a day. Make each application specific to that particular job or company. It is hard work, and it can be tedious and disheartening but the persistence will pay off. Don’t get sucked into daytime TV.
2) Attention to detail is vital. Whether that be in your job applications or in your first job. You may sail through interviews and be offered a position but unless your attention to detail is good you won’t keep that role for very long. Ditto punctuality and humility – you need both of those too.
3) Networking is important. Keeping in touch with people you have meet. It will be vital for your career progression. Go to industry networking events – keep building your contacts.
4) Pay it forward. If you see a vacancy that is not right for you, but might suit a friend – then pass it on. Once you’re in a job, let your university know when your firm has graduate vacancies so that others might also benefit.
5) Keep working at your writing skills. Set up a blog and write on it regularly. Employers list good writing skills as an absolute essential when hiring grads into PR so it’s important you keep them up to scratch.
6) Keep reading the papers. Lots of them. Lots and lots and lots of them. Consume news everywhere – in print, online and broadcast. Don’t limit your reading material. It will help you both in interview, and in your first job. The more you read, the more of an interest you will develop in current affairs and the media and that can only be a good thing.
7) Be nice to other people. Don’t treat people badly as you’re going up the ladder, you may need their help and advice when you fall from grace. This is true of both colleagues and of more junior staff. Be especially nice to receptionists and admin staff – they hold the key to diaries and often are the heartbeat of a company.
8) Don’t forget to say thank you. The impact of a nice thank you landing on someone’s desk should not be underestimated. Twitter and email are also good thank you tools.
9) Be brave. If you are nervous at interview, or in your new job, then fake confidence until you actually feel it. Don’t be afraid to ask (relevant!) questions. Don’t sit in a brainstorming session in your new job and say nothing – no one will remember you.
10) Be kind to yourself. You have just left university. No one expects you to know everything. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as you learn from those mistakes and do better the next time your manager will understand. Failing to improve when you make an error is when managers get frustrated. You will continue to learn throughout your career – the process never stops.