A first-class English graduate from Bournemouth University, Rachel Carroll landed her first full-time role as an Account Executive at spottydog after attending one of our Open House events. Following her recent graduation, and with almost six months of experience under her belt, Rachel is here to offer her top tips on getting a paw through the door in the PR sector.
Network, network, network
Networking and building relationships are key within PR as every connection can lead you to a new opportunity, job or even your next client. Plus, ‘PR-ing’ yourself strengthens your reputation as a comms professional and helps you grow in confidence.
During my final year at university, I signed up to spottydog’s Open House event to discover more about PR and hear from the varied experiences of the practitioners and senior PR lecturer at Birmingham City University, Kelly O’Hanlon.
At the end of the event, there was an opportunity to ask questions where I asked:
- What was your favourite campaign and why?
- How can a new starter impress you?
Although it might not seem like it, asking questions is a great way to get your name remembered as it makes you look enthusiastic and engaged — all qualities that employers look for in candidates. So, prior to attending networking events, do some research so you can ask insightful questions.
What’s more, asking questions and attending events is a great way to get a feel for a company’s culture — something that hundreds of graduates consider when applying for jobs. For example, at spottydog’s Open House event, I discovered their commitment towards nurturing the next generation of talent — which definitely swayed me towards the company.
Make noise on LinkedIn
Following the Open House event, I utilised professional social network LinkedIn by connecting with all the speakers and shared a post:
A few weeks later, Client Services Director Katie Bregazzi reached out to me to ask if I’d be interested in having an interview, which landed me my first graduate role, highlighting the power LinkedIn can have on navigating future opportunities.
Building a professional presence on LinkedIn is key to securing opportunities and establishing relationships with professionals within your industry. In fact, 64% of hiring managers said they viewed a job seeker’s professional social network profile during a recruitment process, emphasising the importance of LinkedIn.
On top of making connections, LinkedIn can also be useful tool for strengthening your knowledge and keeping up to date with industry trends. When scrolling on LinkedIn, I invariably find a new campaign or news story to take inspiration from, so it’s important to use it regularly — even after landing a job — to stay ahead of the game.
Get work experience
Whether it’s a week or a month, getting as much work experience as possible under your belt goes a long way in helping you stand out when applying for graduate roles.
During my second year, I completed a seven-week internship at another Midlands PR agency, which helped me enhance my knowledge and develop key skills, such as media relations and social media management.
Consume the news
A significant part of PR is being media and social savvy. The industry is constantly evolving so it’s important to keep up to date on current affairs and social trends to ensure you’re creating and pitching content that captures the attention of your target audience.
The best way to do this is to keep on top of multi-media channels. For instance, read the news via print or online, subscribe to industry sites, such as PRWeek and The Drum, and listen to the radio.
By consuming these multi-media channels daily, you can rest assured you’re staying ahead of the game because, to succeed in the current PR climate, you need to have speed and relevancy.
If you want to really impress your employer, have an opinion on a news story and explain how it impacts one of their clients. This will make you look passionate and informed.
If you want to discover more about the world of PR and take a peek behind the curtains at a top PR agency, stay tuned to our events page for our next Open House event.