Guest post: Landing your first public relations job
Landing your first job in public relations has never been so tough. University of Sheffield student Amy Williams graduates next year and has got her job search well underway. Here's her story in her own words. By Amy Williams
The big hurdle to getting a job in the public relations industry is work experience. In the current economic climate it’s increasingly hard to get anyone to give you a break.
But the only way to get there is to be persistent, and grow a thick skin. You will get ignored and you will be sent generic email replies. If you’re lucky.
Persistence is the key.
Get your CV up to scratch, practice writing a good email and do your research on companies and I’d like to think that at some point everyone will get that chance if they try.
I’ve now had experience in a number of public relations agencies, both London-based and in Sheffield where I attend university.
In fact, I’m currently a new business researcher at Make Things Happen, an agency in Sheffield, where the team has really supported me in kickstarting my career.
The hardest parts of searching for a job when approaching graduation is the fear of contacting people.
Many people hesitate to apply for jobs because it includes writing a covering letter, or emailing to get some information. You need to get over it. Or perhaps start with Twitter?
Social media is an amazing tool when used properly, and sending a quick tweet to an employer is a lot less pressure. It’s achieved a number of things for me in the past.
Even though this isn’t face-to-face contact, it can be daunting. I have always tried to remember that these are still just people, and that most of the time people have empathy for what you are trying to do.
My advice when looking for graduate jobs, for anyone, no matter what sector they are trying to get into, is to do your research and not be afraid of putting yourself out there.
In public relations, networking is incredibly important and fear of putting yourself out there won’t get you anywhere.
I’ve had experiences on placements whereby I’ve had to pick up the phone and call an MP, or a client and I remember it being terrifying the first time. The trick is to not be afraid and have confidence in yourself. Of course, it’s not always that easy but practice makes perfect.
I am still working on my search for a graduate public relations job. It’s tough.
Graduate schemes are increasingly hard to get a place on, and the industry can be a hard place to start out. There are a lot of graduates who want a career in PR and everyone’s trying to find a way to stand out.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had meetings with people from London companies, but they say you make your own luck and I’ve had to be persistent.
If you have the time, then getting in contact with companies you are interested in is a great way to get your name known and find out more about them.
It’s a tough world out there and knowing what you want and going for it is the best place to start.
About Amy Williams Third-year Social Policy student at the University of Sheffield. With a passion for all things communications and public affairs she aspires to begin her public relations career in London. Connect with Amy via Twitter @amyywilliamsx.