Marketing, advertising and PR

The skills you'll need for a graduate PR job

Verbal dexterity, brand awareness, charm and a good imagination; have you got the skills for a graduate PR job? Find out what it takes to impress graduate recruiters.

Broadly speaking, PR is concerned with the reputation of an organisation or individual: creating it, safeguarding it and potentially promoting products and services as part of this. ‘A lot of PR is centred on what you say,’ advises Greg Day from Greg Day PR. ‘Communication is key, backed up with energy and passion for what you are selling. There is some writing involved and plenty of meetings to attend, so you have to be organised, but it’s your performance as a communicator that counts.’

As well as being a top communicator, you’ll need to be resilient enough to cope under pressure – and if things go wrong. Karen Myers, director of corporate communications at IPC Media, explains, ‘You have to be confident and thick-skinned working in PR. You’re responsible for a client’s reputation and if a campaign goes wrong you have to be able to speak to the client and take criticism from the media.’

PR options: consultancy, in-house, public sector...

Some roles will involve more of one type of work, so make sure that the jobs you apply for are the ones that suit your skills and what you want to do at work. You can raise your chances of application success by being able to tell employers why you’re enthusiastic about wanting to work for them, and how your skills fit the job profile you’re applying for.

Applications and interviews for PR jobs: show off your skills

Greg suggests that on applications and at interview you’ll need to demonstrate ‘verbal dexterity, the ability to write, social skills and a good imagination’. He adds that ‘charm goes a long way, as does knowledge of the brand’. Researching your employer thoroughly is often the key to success.

You’ve got to show that you have what it takes in your covering letter and CV, but it is equally important to show your confidence and communication skills at interview. Karen suggests that, ‘at the interview stage a lot of candidates lack articulacy, and are far less rehearsed in their presentation skills. You need to walk into the interview with confidence and show that you are adaptable and competent.’