How to build relationships to kickstart your career in PR

top PR agency

As a recent graduate fresh out of a Media and Communications course, I was eager to work with a top PR agency after leaving university. So, during my time at Birmingham City University, I attended the spottydog Open House event – which was a huge networking opportunity for me as a student.

As part of this, I was invited to meet the team and visit spottydog HQ – and the event helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the reality of my chosen profession and get a feel for the spottydog culture.

spottydog’s reputation for best-of-breed work and its recognition as a top 5 SME for graduate employment caught my attention, as did their impressive list of clients and award wins. And when I was later offered my first graduate role at spottydog, it struck me that attending this event had, quite literally, opened doors for me.

New pup, new tricks

Having chosen to specialise in PR as part of my course, I knew communication was key to landing opportunities as I embarked on this next step. A huge part of my experience finding a job in PR was not only presenting a portfolio of my work to potential employers, but also ‘PR-ing’ myself by using the skills I’d learnt in my studies and building relationships that would help me stay ahead of the curve.

By the time I’d left university in 2020 the entire country was in lockdown, and most networking opportunities had moved online. Although this was unusual, I found opportunities to join networking events that previously I wouldn’t have known about or been able to attend. Using this to my advantage, I was able to attend events from the comfort of my living room and create connections with key contacts who could help me navigate my PR career.

Beyond networking events, I also utilised platforms such as LinkedIn to find potential contacts and make connections. At one point I had more opportunities in my LinkedIn direct messages than I did in my email inbox! Making noise on LinkedIn was key to building my network and also helped me to understand the type of role I was looking for and generally expand my knowledge about the world of PR.

A paw-fect fit

Understanding the culture of the company you want to work for is essential to knowing if you would be a good fit for the job (and if the job is a good fit for you!). Take any opportunity you can to find out more about the company culture and check out their website and social media platforms so you can tailor your application in line with what they’re looking for.

Attending events like the spottydog Open House event is a great way to understand a company’s culture, as you get to speak to employees from across the business about what they value, the working environment and their day to day responsibilities. Attending the spottydog Open House event helped me understand the vibrant nature of the agency as well as its core values – creativity and pedigree people delivering best-of-breed work.

If you’re looking to kickstart your career in PR, here are some of my top tips for getting a foot in the door:

  • Start conversations with key players at networking events
  • Use LinkedIn to keep up to date with industry news and connect with your contacts
  • Reach out to your contacts for help and advice
  • Do you research into different work cultures to find the best fit for you
  • Speak up, get involved and ask questions!

If you want to discover more about the world of PR and take a peek behind the curtains at a top PR agency, join us for our next Open House event on Thursday 20th May at 11am. Sign up here.

 

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Maddy McCrann-Smith

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