5 Tips to Secure a Graduate PR Job

[introText]“Outside View” is a regular guest column on the PR Agency One blog, written by people working within the marketing industry.  In the first post of the series Lauren Soar of marketing and PR recruitment firm ADAM looks at the challenges graduates face when looking for their first PR job.[/introText]

Applying for a PR job is easy, it’s securing a role that suits, which is the hard part. With a lack of responses and feedback rife at the junior end of the market, it helps to have an understanding of why and what’s best for you to apply for.

  1.  Know your enemy (I.e. the competition)

The hardest barrier most graduates face is competition from other graduates. The best way to tackle this challenge is to understand the competition and what they might offer.

There are several categories of candidate.  Those with:

  • PR, marketing and media degrees and no work experience,
  • PR, marketing and media degrees and work experience placements
  • PR, marketing and media degrees and internships/work experience of 12 months or more (including placements whilst in study).
  • Those graduates with qualifications unrelated to PR that have various amounts of work experience from none to 12 months

You can see, knowing the average number of graduates around, where the problems set in and where you are looking to rank in success ratings.

I am usually recruiting for several junior PR roles at any one time. Recently, I’ve been recruiting for a Consumer Account Executive role in Manchester. I received over 200 applications for this role in just over a week, with most from new graduates with a lack of the stated required experience.

No one can blame candidates for applying for roles that they might be under qualified for, especially when you’re desperate to get into an industry, but gaining a better understanding of what you’re up against, may put you in a better position.

  1. Experience counts

As I mentioned in point one, candidates with more experience, stand a better chance of success. If there is an option to take a placement year as part of your degree, take it. This way, you’re gaining experience while you’re still studying and this will still be viewed as valuable work experience.

  1. Experience doesn’t just mean a year out

If a placement isn’t an option during study, get yourself some work experience. If it’s while you’re still studying then all the better. This is more important in the case of candidates with an unrelated degree to PR.

Agencies, particularly in the northwest, are very open to approaches from graduates and students as it shows tenacity and a passion for where you want to be. A detailed covering letter will separate you from others outlining your uniqueness and what you can offer them, rather than what they can offer you. But don’t over do it; babbling and writing a full page essay instead of a short and punchy letter won’t make a good first impression.

  1. Build your personal brand

If you haven’t already (if not, why not?!) get yourself a Twitter account. Do some research on agencies in the locations you want to settle in, follow them and their key players, learn about the industry and suss out what kind of companies, clients you think you’d be best suited to working with. Don’t just focus on Twitter.  Create a LinkedIn profile and write a blog. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

  1. Perfect the killer CV

Make sure your CV is watertight, well laid out and well written. You’re trying to get into a job that involves a lot of creative writing, so don’t let yourself down at the first hurdle.

At this stage in your career, the two page CV stigma shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but for future reference, don’t get sucked into limitation. Just be aware that a CV needs to be concise and is conventionally one to two pages in length.

However as long as the content of your CV is relevant, to the point and engaging, then all your content is important.

In short, don’t sell yourself short for the sake of a page. If you have the reader’s attention, they will keep reading. For further tips on CV writing and layout, you can visit our website.

Lauren is a PR & social media specialist at marketing and sales recruitment firm ADAM with a major focus on the Manchester/North West market, branching out across the UK. With a successful background and impressive portfolio of clients, her viewpoint is that creativity isn’t a job, it’s a state of mind – making her a prime contact when it comes to pursuing new recruits or sourcing a new role in PR. Follow on Twitter @laurenklair.

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