How Do You Start Off In PR?
Did you know that Public Relations is listed as one of the most stressful jobs out there? It’s true! A career in PR is hard work and long hours but the rewards are second to none. Being responsible for major brands is rewarding in itself and seeing a campaign you worked on gain awareness, press coverage and new fans as well as attending dozens of fashion shows each year will make the hard work worthwhile. (Not to mention the freebies!)
Whether you have gained a degree, are working towards one or haven’t even been to University – don’t fret, as there are plenty of routes into the industry all leading to that perfect PR job.
University is a fantastic place for opportunities and projects, as long as you are willing to put in the extra time and effort. There will be opportunities for you to get involved in PR projects and if there aren’t any you will have the opportunity to create them! Always look for opportunities. Are you a member of a society that needs more members? Come up with a great campaign to showcase why joining will be beneficial! Reach out to local businesses around the area and offer to help market them, generate some positive PR stories about their company and contact local newspapers. It’s all about using your initiative and seeking out opportunities where you are able to put your skills to use. Anything is possible!
Internships are another great way to start out – as long as you show an understanding of the industry, drive and passion there’s no reason why an agency wouldn’t take you on for a few weeks experience. Ensure emails requesting work experience are tailored to suit each company, outline what you can bring to them and showcase your interest in their work – what makes you the ideal candidate? Once you have a few short-term internships under your belt, you’ll become a far stronger candidate for longer internships.
Whilst at an internship make the most of your time there, do everything with a smile, be social and ask for colleague’s business cards or emails to keep in touch after.
Networking is also very important, ‘It’s who you know, not what you know’ rings true in the PR world. A great place to start building up your network of contacts is social media. Twitter and blogging open you up to a wide audience that will have similar interests to you, employees and companies. By following and engaging with a PR role model of yours or fellow PR graduate you are slowly but surely building a relationship with them, so much so that when the time comes that you are both at an event you will be able to have a ‘real’ chat and catch up.
Networking events are also a great way to make new contacts, although nerve-wracking at first, once you get started it’s a great experience. And it’s a lot of fun! Always have business cards to hand out and send follow up emails the next day! You never know where a connection could come in handy in the future!
With blogging, using social media to share your content can reap huge rewards. Tweeting links, sharing on Google + and LinkedIn to the right audiences can gain great attention and recognition. Commenting on other likeminded blogs will also help to build relationships. The benefits of using Social Media in the right ways can be second to none. New mentors, new friendships, knowledge and even a job can be offered all at the click of a mouse!
Having a mentor throughout your career is also a great way to gain an understanding of the industry and to help you on your journey. Usually being someone you’ve already met (on an internship for example) mentors can provide you with invaluable experience – just make sure you are aware of their busy schedules! Sending an email once a month to check-in or meeting for a coffee will suffice. Having a mentor that is in the same specific industry that you aspire to will also be beneficial, they are experts in that field & you can share your passion- whether it be the magazine industry or fashion world. Your mentor could learn lots from you too!
No matter where you are at the moment, a successful career in PR could be closer than you think, by gaining invaluable work experience, finding a mentor, networking and using social media to promote your own personal brand, your dream job in PR will become reality!