“Are you lost from your ball pit?” I was asked this question by a PR professional (I won’t name and shame) after they pointed out how young I am. It didn’t really affect me at the time but it got me thinking about how young PR pros can stand out when entering the industry. Here’s my advice when breaking into the world of working in PR:
1. Know what sector you want to work in: Having completed two PR placements in two different sectors last summer I have noticed a considerable difference between how day-to-day PR processes are handled. My first placement, being a creative digital marketing agency, was very laid back and the office was often filled with jokes and banter. In contrast, my second placement, being a corporate and financial consultancy, was more formal and conversations about the news or business scandals were the topic of choice over lunch break. This isn’t to say that one is better than the other, but to highlight the importance of knowing what sector you want to enter as a PR junior as each is suited for different types of people.
2. Plan and plan and plan again: Planning your career path is the easiest way to work out what your PR dream really is. I created one for my Employability and Work Placement unit last year and what I have realised is that nothing is set. Your plan is yours. It can change at anytime to coincide with your ever-changing dreams. I also realised that even though your plan will most likely change as you grow within the PR industry it is still important to write down your career aims. By doing this you can position yourself within a certain sector or even with a specific organisation and you can prepare yourself for working within that environment.
3. Dress for the job you want: This may sound a bit obvious but looking presentable is so important when making first impression in the industry. You won’t be taken seriously as a PR professional if you turn up to an interview or networking event in jeans and trainers. I recommend finding out what the dress code is before attending as digital agencies are often laid back have a more smart casual dress code compared to corporate where a suit is necessary.
If you’re a student trying to break into the industry then I’m sure you’ve already been told to do these things but I hope I can highlight how important they really are.
Key thing to remember: It might be intimidating to begin with but PR juniors are the future of the industry. Shake off negativity, learn from rejections and make your career the one you want it to be.