Graduation is fast approaching. Soon you will realise that no longer can you live the student lifestyle of eating pasta five times a week and binge-watching Netflix for hours on end. It’s ‘officially’ time to step into the real world and get your first graduate job in public relations.
Since graduating last year I’ve found that (luckily) working life isn’t so different. It just comes with more responsibility – plus anyway, you get paid, which is always going to be a bonus!
Figuring out where to begin can be challenging, so I’ve broken it down into the four key stages of landing your dream job in PR.
With the competition hotter than ever, you need to stand out from the other grads by showing you’re motivated to constantly learn and grow. Whether that be through a PR internship or even a summer job at your local supermarket. Simply by showing you’re a proactive person who went out of their way to keep busy over the holidays will go a long way.
There’s no end to the benefits work experience has. It allows you to build your confidence, understand the areas you enjoy, determine the type of environment/people you like to work with, and gain transferable skills such as communication, organisation, and timekeeping amongst many others. It’s also a great chance to figure out if PR is even the right industry for you!
Finding the right job
So, now you’ve got some work experience, how do you find job adverts? There are the ‘go-to’ job sites like Indeed or increasingly popular platforms like LinkedIn. It’s also worth searching for specific PR job websites, such as PRWeek Jobs, as well as looking on the company websites themselves to make sure you’re finding as many job opportunities as you can.
Tailoring your application
After you’ve spent all that time searching for jobs, there is no point throwing it away by emailing a generic application that you’ve sent to 20 other companies that week.
Each CV and cover letter should be tailored to the company and job specifications, using keywords from the advert to highlight how your experiences relate to the desired skills. It’s important to follow any specific instructions in the ad to show your ability to follow directions, as well as your desire to work with them by going to the extra effort of personalising your application.
Companies want to know that you spent time researching and learning about them, showing how you will fit into their culture and what specifically you like about them. Perhaps it’s their clients you like, their fun socials you’ve seen on Instagram, or their clear focus on diversity and sustainability. Whatever it may be, they want to know that you want to work for them and not simply any PR company out there.
Nailing the interview
For most graduates fresh out of university, interviews sound like the most intimidating part of job applications. For me, they took some getting used to, but eventually, you will realise that they’re a lot more like a conversation and less like an interrogation!
How to prepare
- Research the company – look on their social media platforms and website to read about their recent news, clients, culture, etc.
- Plan your answers – companies often ask similar questions, so having a quick google of common interview questions will allow you to use your prepared answers for whatever they throw at you
- Prepare three questions to ask them – don’t forget that interviews are a two-way street; they are your time to ask whatever you like and decide whether you want to work with them too
They don’t expect you to be a pro with a thousand examples of your work. They just want to see that you know why PR is the career for you and specifically why you want to work with them.
Then comes the exciting part of starting your first ever graduate job! The time to move to new cities, meet new people, and grow more than you ever thought you could.