Marketing, advertising and PR

Why a graduate job in public relations could start your PR-fect career

PR is a popular choice of graduate job but it's not all launch parties and business lunches. You have to do some desk work and thinking too!

PR has become a sophisticated business tool used to tell a story to the public and promote products and services. According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), PR is seen as a vibrant, attractive industry, consistently ranking among new graduates’ top career choices.

What public relations jobs involve today

Given the variety of projects you can work on in this industry, its popularity is no surprise. Karen Myers, director of corporate communications at IPC Media, explains, ‘Graduates have the opportunity to get their career off the ground in a very short space of time. After just a couple of weeks they may be trusted to contact clients and take on more responsibility.’ You'll have the chance to develop in all sorts of ways.

As Karen explains, ‘PR really stretches your skills: you could be doing anything from dealing with journalists to managing a website, writing, editing or organising events, and this requires adaptability, organisation and imagination.’ There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do, and it’s not easy always being in the media spotlight. That said, if you see yourself as a confident people-person with a creative edge then this could be a great career for you. 

Impressing PR recruiters in applications and interviews

With graduates fighting each other in the streets for a job in PR, getting a foot in the door can be hard; it’s important to know why you want to do it, be able to demonstrate that you have the right personality and articulate your suitability for the job. Karen recommends that candidates imagine themselves as the subject of a PR campaign when they are applying, ‘that way they demonstrate the skills we are looking for in their applications,’ she argues.

When applying for a role in PR you’ve got to display that you have what it takes to do the job in your covering letter and CV, but it is equally, if not more, important to show your confidence and communication skills at interview. Karen explains that this is where most applicants slip up, ‘On paper they look great, but at the interview stage a lot of candidates are not so articulate and are far less rehearsed in their presentation skills. You need to impress straight away: walk into the interview with confidence and show that you are adaptable and competent.’