I’m often asked which are the best books on PR. There are HUNDREDS to choose from, but here are some of the best from the cheapest to the wallet crushing. Some are academic texts, some are ‘guides to’, one is a novel and the others are not strictly PR but are relevant nonetheless.
Note: This post now also appears on PRcareers.co.uk along with lots of other useful PR careers advice.
So you’ve mastered the CV format and written a brand spanking new one following the the brilliant guidelines in my book but you’ve still got that pesky bit at the bottom to write – the bit most people call “hobbies”. So what do you do if you don’t actually have any hobbies? Should you leave that section blank? I think that everyone has something interesting to say about their pastimes and there’s a number of ways you can tackle it.
Firstly, don’t title that section “hobbies”. Continue reading
I often get asked advice by graduates looking to break into the PR industry so here’s my round up of useful articles for job-hunting grads:
2012 is turning out to be quite a year. Not only will the Taylor Bennett Foundation be running four PR internships, and increasing the intake from six graduates on each programme to eight but also, rather inconveniently, I am having a baby.
It was a planned pregnancy. Well, planned in that we have been trying to conceive for nearly five years with no luck, but I never really had expected it to happen and so in terms of when the baby is due to make an appearance, it was not diarised.
For anyone who knows me well, you will realise that this has caused me endless sleepless nights. My role at the Foundation is completely unique. I have never met anyone who does my job elsewhere and so I take great pains to make sure I am not away on holiday when the internships are running so that someone else doesn’t have to take on tasks they never imagined they’d have to. I never imagined, therefore, that I would be taking four months maternity leave in the middle of the year and leaving my precious interns in the hands of someone new.
The baby has been warned that it must appear on its due date of May 5th as to be early would be disastrous and to be late will mean mummy will be cross. My friends have scoffed at the idea of a child who follows my spreadsheet but it will have to learn pretty quickly I tell you.
The question of who will manage the internship programmes while I am away is still up in the air. We’ve had a few ideas but the decision of who takes over is down to the Foundation’s trustees so I have my fingers crossed they will go with my first choice.
Whoever it is will have to take on a bewildering array of tasks. I have been running these programmes for two years now and I had never quite grasped the variety of things I do on a day to day basis. To ease the cover person into the role, I have started compiling a “Guide to Running the Taylor Bennett Foundation Internships”. It is twenty pages so far and I’m only up to what to do to recruit the interns and how to settle them in on their first week.
I am very lucky in that I love my role. It is challenging, interesting and can be very rewarding, but it demands of me some unusual skills.
So, for those of you who fancy running such a scheme here are just some of the more random things you’ll be tasked with:
– Make sure the interns understand how to change a toilet roll (no one likes going into the loo to find that the last roll has been used and not replaced)
– Ensure you’re up to date with popular culture so as not to seem a million years old (I am 37 so to the average 22 year old I am ancient) and, if running an internship focussed on fashion PR, be clear in your understanding that Paul’s Boutique bags are chavvy and Mulberry are not
– Be clear when giving instructions. Graduates are used to pages of academic instructions with little room for interpretation. If your directions aren’t clear, they’ll go off piste
– When giving them career advice think about it from their mum’s point of view. If it’s not advice you’d give your own child, it’s bad advice
– Bring them cake. Homemade is best, but if you’re six month’s pregnant and can’t be arsed to bake then Krispy Kremes also go down well
In 2012 the Taylor Bennett Foundation (for which I am the Course Director) is running four more paid PR internship and training schemes designed to address the lack of black and ethnic minorities in the PR industry.
Application deadline for the Jan – Mar scheme run with Talk PR is midday on 19th December so get applying!
For more details go to our website www.taylorbennettfoundation.org
Click on the image below to read our recruitment advert.
Had enough of PRing for one day? Want to watch other people pretending to be PRs? Here’s a handy list of TV shows featuring public relations:
Thanks to the following people for helping to compile this list:
- Turn up. If you can’t go to the interview for any reason, call the interviewer to apologise and explain so that they can give your slot to someone else.
- Be on time. Not 30 minutes early, not five minutes late. ON TIME. If you are unsure where you are meant to be going, do a trial run a few days before. If you get there very early on the day, go to a coffee shop and hang around until it is time for the interview. If you turn up early, the interviewer will feel under pressure to interview you then, when they may have other things to do. If you are late, you are wasting their time. Being late says “my time is more important than yours”. Not a great start.
- Dress smartly. If you don’t have a suit, buy one or borrow one. Polish your shoes. Have brushed hair and pay attention to your personal hygiene.
- Take a copy of your CV, along with anything else you have been asked to take – a portfolio of work for example.
- Do your research. Make sure you know what the company does. Find out as much as you can about the person interviewing you too.
- Read the job spec (assuming you have one) and the job advert, carefully. These will give you an idea of the questions you will be asked. If the job spec says that one of the requirements of this job is “a good eye for detail” they may ask you to give an example of when you have demonstrated that skill.
- Practise your handshake. A wet fish in your hand is not nice. Likewise, don’t try and crush your interviewer’s hand. Firm, but not bone-breaking, is best.
- Be interested. Don’t stare out of the window when they are talking to you, or pick your nose, or stare at your shoes.
- Be prepared to ask questions. At the end of the interview you will probably be asked if you have any questions. They may have already covered everything you need to know, but it’s best to have something to ask. Good questions include asking about their training opportunities, what the next stage in the interview process is likely to be, or when you are likely to hear from them.
- Remember that an interview is a two-way process. It is your opportunity to decide if you want to work for the company, just as much as it is their opportunity to find out if they would like to hire you.