Breaking into the tight knit industry that is Public Relations can seem both difficult and daunting. Coming from someone in the infancy of their career, I have put together some top tips that are relevant to university students and graduates thinking of getting their foot in the door in agency PR.
Trust me when I say I feel you when you think ‘but they need to give me experience so I can get experience’. There are so many things you can do to add to your CV to make you stand out from other applicants! And in PR, one of the best ways to get involved is to start off interning and volunteering. This not only gives you an incredible insight into what your career might look like, but it will also tell you if maybe it’s not for you. Either way, it is still valuable experience that is as good as gold on your resume.
A few ideas to consider below:
- Volunteer at events, such as Melbourne Fashion Festival, fun runs, charity events etc. This shows that you’re keen to get involved and understand how major events and campaigns work
- Know a friend with a small business? Help them out with their social media to refine your understanding of social strategy
- Take a short course to expand your skills in a certain area which will add value to your resume. InDesign and Photoshop are a great place to start
You would be surprised at how relevant so many of your pre-existing skills can be when applying for a job. Talk to how you managed a busy café every Saturday morning (and can work well under pressure), or how you have worked in fashion retail for 4+ years (and know your textiles back to front).
- SELL YOURSELF
This is the first skill you need to learn in your career. You are your biggest asset, and don’t you forget it!
When you do get the opportunity, talk about your achievements, tell us about what you can do. Sell yourself in a killer cover letter, then make some key notes of what you want to get across in your interview.
Be the real you! Don’t be afraid to show your awesome personality. We’re not robots and we live for eachother’s quirks.
Most importantly work hard in your internship to stand out from other candidates. At this stage in your career, it’s certainly not all about what you know – we’ll remember your positive attitude and eagerness to learn.
- KNOW WHATS UP
Study the resources and platforms that we live by in the PR and Comms industry – newspapers, podcasts, magazines, blogs, social trends, rising talent, broadcast and radio to name a few. Our job requires us to keep our finger on the pulse at all times and you need to show that you’re all over it too.
If you’re lucky enough to land an internship within a PR agency make sure you speak up and make suggestions so that your managers can see not only that you have done your research but also how confident and savvy you are, and then when a permanent role may come up down the track you’ll be the first candidate to spring to mind.
I would probably say that doing daily paper reads whilst I was an intern was one of the most valuable ways to learn about print media and current affairs, and to understand how PR fits into everything. It may be a tedious task, but it pays off in spades! Don’t always reach for the same paper too – I wouldn’t hae thought that now I have an affinity for the Australian Financial Review (nerd alert).
- SAY YES TO EXPERIENCE
There are so many opportunities and amazing experiences to be had in this industry. No matter who I talk to, this is always one of their biggest tips. Put your hand up for everything! Some of the most experienced PR professionals that I know tell me that they worked at every event they could when they were starting out, and I made sure I followed their lead.
One morning you’ll find yourself putting together table settings ahead of a sit-down lunch and the next night you will be manning the door at a bar opening. Mixing it up is what really makes your job interesting! I have found myself in some amazing places, from greeting top tier celebrities at the NGV Gala to walking down Pit Lane at the Grand Prix. My skillset has broadened so much from working at a wide variety of events and when it came to my team running our own event, I already knew exactly what was going on which relieved a lot of stress.
As an intern, you will likely have the opportunity to help out at events. However you can always ask for more experience, and this just shows how keen you are to be involved!
Some of the things you can support with at an agency include:
- Event bump in and bump out
- Media preview days
- Event door list
- Major event support
- Group showings
- Media meetings
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You’d think we were having Christmas drinks.. but that is not the case for tonight’s celebration. The @ampr_group is getting behind #frocktober and @ocrf as we celebrate the end of a busy September / October! We have certainly nailed some huge events and achieved some amazing coverage 🍾 Cheers and now onto another busy November / December!
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Don’t forget that these are amazing for networking, and it’s a prime opportunity to shake the hands of as many people as you can. Including but not limited to media, clients, suppliers, influencers and sometimes even celebs!