Blog: Top tips for getting your first job in PR

It’s that time of year again when my inbox gets flooded with speculative emails from graduates and school leavers all looking to get their foot on the PR ladder.

I’ll be honest, 60% of the emails I receive are consigned to the inbox trash within seconds of reading them, 35% follow a few minutes later and only a tiny percentage are actually invited for interview.

The few I actually respond to and invite to come in and have a chat with me, then have further hurdles to cross, including a grammar test, before I even think about offering them a role.

Whether you want a role with In the Works PR or have your sights set on somewhere else, here are my top tips to max your chances of getting that all important first job:

  1. Send a personal email – Nothing winds me up more than an email asking for a job, where the sender hasn’t even bothered to check out who to send it to. It’s clear I am just on a long list of prospective employers who have received the same blanket email. Do your research, phone and find out who to send the email to.
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the company – Virtually every business/charity/school/organisation has a website and social media platforms. Do your research and make sure the knowledge you gain shines through in your covering letter.
  1. Have good grammar and spelling – Bad grammar is right up there on my angry list. You want a job in PR, but if you can’t even spell or use the correct grammar in your covering letter and CV, then your recruitment journey with In the Works PR ends with your application. Regardless of the qualifications, every prospective employee at In the Works PR has to take a grammar test. You’d be amazed at how many fail, not knowing the difference between it’s, its, there, their and they’re.
  1. Have clean and private social media accounts – Social media is part and parcel of the job and if you want to enter the industry your accounts need to be a paragon of virtue. You might think it’s hilarious to tell the world you were too hungover to go into work, but I don’t. I run a business with many clients relying on me and my team. If you want to party on a school night, then In the Works PR isn’t the company for you and you won’t be making it to the interview stage.
  1. Work experience – Never, ever underestimate work experience. Whether it’s a part time job or regular volunteering, this tells me you’re committed, have developed life and social skills and half a work ethic – you want to get on. Telling me that you’re taking some time out to weigh up your options after uni, rather than taking on a part time job, says ‘lazy’ to me. I worked throughout university, doing both paid work and unpaid internships with PR agencies. It was one of the internships that resulted in a permanent paid position when I graduated.

Applying for jobs is not rocket science. Invest some time upfront. Tailor your CV and covering letter to the job you’re applying for and you’ll have a far higher chance of success. Trust me, I’ve been there.