Competition for a PR job is strong, particularly in the graduate market when it can be difficult to get your first foot on the career ladder and stand out from the crowd. Jobs in PR are few and far between so it is best to make the most of every CV and application that you send.

Whether you are looking for a role in an agency or in house, a role in PR can be challenging and insightful, yet rewarding. For entry-level job seekers, it can be difficult to know what options are available out there. Here are some of our tips to get your career started in PR.

Get a PR internship or work experience

The first step to getting a job in PR is to get work experience or what many now refer to as a PR internship. These opportunities offer professional experience beyond what you may have learned to date. Internships provide you with examples of work you have done within the industry so far. These can then be showcased within your portfolio when you look to land that dream job in PR. Another advantage of an internship is that it can be a great way to help you figure out what you like and dislike in the industry, be it the type of clients or whether a B2B or B2C focus is for you. It can help build a network of professionals in the industry who can help you and will want to see new talent succeed. This learning process is key in helping you determine your career direction as you move forward into a PR role.

Understand what PR is and isn’t

You’ll be surprised how many graduates don’t have a well-rounded understanding of what PR is and isn’t. Even people who have completed a PR degree often struggle with understanding the public relations industry as the depiction of  PR in academia can be a million miles away from real life. So if you don’t know your B2B PR from consumer PR or your tech from your travel, then the best way to do this is to speak to real life PR practitioners and read up.  Demonstrating a level of understanding of the industry will make you stand out from the crowd.

Immerse yourself in the media

Read the news and have an understanding of what stories are being covered in the media. For example, do you know what makes clickbait clickable or a stunt successful or not? This knowledge will impress the people you pitch clients to when you land your first job. Media relations is an essential skill that entry-level recruits need to be equipped with. Some employers may even ask what newspapers or magazines you have recently read at the interview stage and this will enable you to be prepared and relay your understanding of the media to the prospective employer.

Write a good CV targeting PR agencies

Our managing director gets contacted by over 800 graduates a year. Many CVs don’t make it past a first initial scan.  So many graduates make the same mistake.  Here is a list of a few:

  • Address the CV to the managing director personally, (all PR MDs are very visible and a quick google search will identify who to write to)
  • Make the most of your work experience and hobbies. Sure all that retail work experience shows you are a hard worker but CVs should be short, so focus on the transferable skills that make you employable
  • Demonstrate an understanding of PR in your CV. Talk about writing skills, social media awareness, blogging etc
  • Make your other interests stand out on your CV. Every applicant will have a mixture of good work experience or a strong academic pedigree. Tell us about why you are an interesting person, about the time you helped small children in Africa or your love of music.
  • Tailor your CV and covering letter to focus on the business you are writing to. Those CVs that make it to the top of the pile have read our website and know we work with businesses like Decathlon and KPMG.
  • Proofread your CV.

Attending networking events will differentiate PR graduates from their competition

Network as much as possible. Don’t just rely on job posts to apply for a role. Follow influencers from the industry and people at companies you are interested in joining. You never know when you might meet that contact who could prove invaluable for your career progression. Networking will support and develop your job search and, in fact, do the same for the rest of your professional life. There is no denying the power networking events can have over your career success for years to come.

Research PR employers and graduate roles in public relations

A popular question employers ask in an interview is “What do you know about the company?”. It is important to do your research before the interview takes place. Get to know the company, from their vision and values to the client base. This helps determine whether it is a company you truly want to take a look, part of, as well as telling the prospective employer that you have taken the time to gain an understanding of the business. You can find out a lot about companies from their careers pages so there are plenty of resources out there to obtain this information for an interview from LinkedIn to the company website. You can find out about PR careers at PR Agency One here.

Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Even if you feel like you’re not quite experienced enough, just take it, run with it, and work it out along the way. You might surprise yourself at what you’re capable of when you are thrown in at the deep end.

It won’t be long before you land that dream job and get your career off to a flying start.

If you would like to get a job in PR and join our team, please send your CV, along with 500 words telling us about yourself and why you are right for PR Agency One, to [email protected].

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