'All you do and say is PR'
When I was studying for my undergraduate degree in journalism, one of my favourite lecturers told me, when we were exploring the difference between news and public relations, “all you do and say is PR”.
I thought this was profound and thoughtful, until I found out it’s one of the oldest PR quotes in the book. That my lecturer had managed to convince an entire class of students his quote was original, is still the best PR move I’ve ever witnessed.
Leaving behind the reporter life for public relations is a common route so my transition to PR felt natural, but it did involve lots of reading, and a lot more internships, to help me go from covering the news, to making the news. It turned out that my experience was the most important thing I’d done.
I grabbed every opportunity I could to develop my skills and gain as much experience as I could remember “all you do and say is PR”. If you’re after a job in this industry, make sure what you do and say, is evidence of your ability to do the job. Experience saw me grab my job here at Equator PR despite there being 150 applicants, and thanks to this experience, (and a well put together CV) they thought I was applying for a Manager role!
One opportunity that came my way was helping a local Endometriosis Support Group with their communications in the lead up to an information day they had, which was completely sold out and even attended by some of their local MSPs. I organised interview opportunities for the local press, and sent out press releases far and wide. It was my first real taste of a client brief and I loved it! Agency work was definitely calling my name, the chance to work on different types of campaigns and clients was alluring and exciting, so I made sure my experience was spread across as many types of client as possible. From sports, to charity and even public sector, knowledge in a little bit of everything is, in my opinion, key to getting yourself an agency job.
If you are looking to grab your own grad job in the industry, I recommend exploring what companies are looking for. Throw out a few prospective CV’s and always chase for feedback. Most people were more than happy to explain what skills I had to develop or grow to be a reputable member of their team and a few even offered a chance to sit down and chat about the industry.
I knew my skills as a journalist would come in handy in the PR part of public relations, but I noticed that agencies were asking for social skills too. Posting photos of my dinner on Facebook or complaining about train times on Twitter didn’t count. I had to make my audience listen to my message, not asking my pals to ogle my new shoes. Google Garage was one of the most useful tools I found. It can teach you all the basics, from Facebook ads to even SEO.
When I spied that Equator PR was looking for a Junior I jumped at the chance. I researched their clients, the company’s background and swotted up on all my PR and Social knowledge. I worked on my own PR too, and made sure that not only did my experience shine through, but my personality too.
It must’ve worked, because I’m here now. I’m learning so much, not just from my own team but from the rest of the company.
If you’re gunning for a graduate job in PR, take my advice, grab your opportunities, gain that all important experience! And remember: “all you do and say is PR”.
By Dionne Kennedy, Junior PR & Social Consultant