1. Tips on finding a PR role:
Outside London – google local PR agencies/large organisations that have a press/comms team. Call up, ask to speak to someone and get a relevant contact to send your CV etc to. That voice contact with someone on the phone will make you more memorable as an applicant. Also getting a specific name and email address of the relevant person is better than a blanket email to an ‘info@’ type email address.
In London, prcareers.co.uk is a good website. They have a list http://www.prcareers.co.uk/2016-150-pr-internships-graduate-schemes/ that takes PR Week’s top 150 PR agencies and explains what they have in terms of internships, work experience, grad schemes etc. If they’re big they’ll probably have a HR team and a strict process. If they’re small you can use the tactic above – call up, find the best person to send you details to.
Bear in mind, smaller agencies may be easier to get experience at – they’ll want cheap labour/admin help. Larger agencies however probably have more established processes for taking people on – but making an impact may be more difficult.
2. An expert guide to getting a job in PR:
Guardian Careers website has some good advice on making applications.
3. Tips for making a successful PR application:
- Relevance: research the hell out of whoever you’re applying to. Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn etc, find out how big they are, how long they’ve been around, who they work with, what kind of work they usually do. People can smell a blanket application a mile off. Let these people know why you want to work for them specifically. PR Week can be a good resource to find out any big client wins etc
- Accuracy: NO TYPOS. PRs are super snobby about spelling and grammar. One little mistake and you won’t get a look in.
- Relevant Experience: PR people want to see work experience. If you haven’t got any, mention experience you do have in the following areas: Writing, Media, Organisation, Creativity, People Skills and stress how into these things you are and why you want to use these skills in a PR role. (Blogging, events organisation, marketing or digital marketing experience, social media stuff all looks good).
- Be professional online: Behind the scenes, your personal social media needs to represent you well. It is the first thing that many employers look at. You can be yourself and be opinionated, passionate about the things you’re into but don’t have anything up there that you wouldn’t want a future employer to see.
- Make it snappy: For organisations that don’t have a specific HR team, it will be someone who has a lot of other things to do that will be reading your application. And to be honest, even HR people don’t want to spend hours reading an application. Front the most important and relevant info about yourself. Look at the company’s website and pick up those key ways they describe themselves – and then repeat those key words back to them. You want whoever is reading to get a good vibe about you from a very brief scan of your application. No more than 1 page cover letter, no more than 2 page CV.
- Get Creative: Depending on the organisation you apply to, you could impress them by going the extra mile with a creative CV. It’s risky but if they like it, it could pay off. I’m guessing that this kind of application goes down well with self-professed ‘creative’ agencies, and less well with corporate PR/in-house teams…
- Business Admin: Something that doesn’t get talked about much is how any junior PR role/any PR role is very business admin heavy. This means office-based work experience will stand you in good stead, even if it’s not PR specific. Stress your aptitude at Microsoft Office software, any other software you can use (photoshop, indesign etc). Also organisation and time management are key – include examples of ways you have practiced these skills.
- Read the news: You need to show you’re one the pulse with current affairs/engrossed in the sectors that are relevant to your employer. Before an interview DEFINITELY read the news that day – a lot of interviewers ask questions like ‘tell me what you think about x that appeared in the news recently’ or tell me about some of today’s news that you found interesting’