I Want to Work in … Public Relations
Public Relations (usually referred to as PR) involves: communicating a message to one or more of the different target audiences an organisation wishes to influence in a positive way.
You may be involved in: answering enquiries from individuals, journalists and organisations; preparing press releases, articles etc.; organising press briefings, conferences, exhibitions, receptions, tours; writing and editing in-house journals; creating and maintaining useful contacts; planning and initiating PR campaigns. A lot of junior PR posts consist mainly of writing so evidence of writing for the student newspaper, doing the publicity for a student society, proofreading or blogging on your CV will enhance your chances.
To succeed in PR, you need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills, to be hard-working and able to deal with a number of different tasks at one time, creative, determined, persuasive and persistent. You need to be versatile and adaptable with a good eye for a story and the ability to craft content. You need to be interested in business and understand that agencies need to make profits!
Competition for entry-level posts is fierce so you need to do lots of research into what PR involves and try to gain unpaid work experience. Many people enter PR after experience in journalism, advertising or marketing.
PROFILE: Public Relations Executive
INVOLVES: 'The deliberate, planned & sustained effort to establish & maintain goodwill & mutual understanding between an organisation & its publics' (Institute of Public Relations).
For a more detailed outline of the work, typical employers, entry and training, vacancy sources and much more see the Prospects Occupational Profiles:
- Public Relations Account Executive www.prospects.ac.uk/links/PRAccExec
- Public Relations Officer www.prospects.ac.uk/links/PROfficer
and the Prospects Sector Briefing on Advertising & Public Relations www.prospects.ac.uk/links/AdvertisingSB
I have finally got a job in PR, you said it could take anything between 6 and 8 months and it took 6 (although, if I'm being honest I have only really been trying since the New Year).
After about 100 applications (speculative, and to advertised jobs and work experience), an agency picked up on me (JFL Recruit www.jflrecruit.com they specialise in PR) and offered to set me up on a work experience placement. I worked unpaid for a week at a PR and Design specialist company and they wanted to keep me on. I turned down the offer because of the commute (I traveled for 5 hours one day because there were trees down on the line). I felt like I was shooting myself in the foot but realised it was impossible really to work such long hours unless/until I moved to London.
After updating my CV after my work experience, however, I applied for a few positions locally via www.reed.co.uk - a job website I highly recommend for people searching for specialist careers in local areas (they advertise thousands of specialist regional jobs), I got three interviews.
I was offered and have accepted the job at a music and entertainment company. They said I was the only person they considered with no or little experience but they liked me and are giving me a good salary and are going to train me on the job and even hire a computer specialist on a temporary basis to set up the company digitally and train me in multimedia. It will be an in-house PR role with some marketing and computing duties and it is just a 20 minute drive away from me. I start next Monday.
BA English and American Literature graduate
- Chartered Institute of Public Relations www.cipr.co.uk The Institute of Public Relations holds a careers day in London each autumn and in the spring in Manchester. It is THE CAREERS EVENT for anyone serious about a career in PR. Details are usually on their website from late September. Apply early - places are snapped up 4 weeks before the event! The IPR website also has a great deal of useful careers advice, including job opportunities and work placements.
- Public Relations Consultants’ Association www.prca.org.uk
"The one thing people in PR will respond to is if you have the guts to ring up and tell them about yourself"
Employers include specialist PR consultancies, advertising agencies, industrial and commercial organisations, local and central government, charities and educational institutions. A “Survey of the Recruitment & Selection Practices of Public Relations Companies”, carried out at Sheffield University, is available in file371.4 in the Careers Information Room. It asked agencies about their graduate recruitment policy, where (and if) they advertise vacancies and what they look for in candidates.
- Hollis UK Press and PR Annual www.hollis-pr.com database of all PR Consultancies in the UK. A print version of the directory is available in the Careers Information Room.
- Burson Marsteller www.burson-marsteller.com
- Edelman www.edelman.com
- Hotwire www.hotwirepr.com specialises in corporate, trade and consumer PR programmes for clients in the technology industry. Runs a Graduate Development Programme
- Text 100 www.text100.com PR consultancy specialising in high-tech clients.
- Weber Shandwick www.webershandwick.com/Default.aspx/Careers international PR firm. Offers internships
- JFL Search and Selection www.jflrecruit.com specialise in PR. Recommended by a Kent graduate who got a job in PR via them.
- SourceThatJob media specific job board. Jobs for journalists, PR professionals, advertising people, web designers and marketers.
- Public Relations Links www.publicrelationslinks.co.uk information on looking to find a job in the industry: vocational courses to interview advice, vacancies board and details on graduate schemes.
The top 10 UK PR agencies
(Source PR Week, April 2008)
|1. Bell Pottinger Group
4. Weber Shandwick
|5. Citigate Dewe Rogerson
6. Hill & Knowlton
|8. Freud Communications
Other Information Sources
- Public Relations Links www.publicrelationslinks.co.uk details on everything from vocational courses to interview advice, vacancies board and details on which companies run graduate schemes.
- Brand Republic www.brandrepublic.com - news, forums and jobs covering the PR, advertising and marketing industry.
- PR Week www.prweek.co.uk - includes a “Careerfile” on major PR employers.
Last fully updated 2012