Tag Archives: CIPR

How to land your first job (in PR)

So you graduated from your undergrad or just started a MA and you begin to realise  how much of a competitive market this is.

Well hello there!

Don’t freak out – the market is much broader than you may originally think, if you are a dedicated and hard-working individual that is.

At work, like in life, there isn’t always time and space – but you can make time and create space. If you mean business, you will get business – as simple as that. But enough with the cliches.

I have been in comms for about 3 years now; I did start from scratch coming from a different country, where PR is sadly often linked to a club opening or free shots. However, I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of talented and supportive people along the way, who helped me realise what my dream was and pursue it.

In a nutshell, by no means an expert myself, I am just offering a few bits of advice which I thought you may find useful on your PR journey:

Seek experience 

While still at uni, get as involved as you can with external and internal projects. Volunteer to participate to anything from online and print outlets, to ad hoc small projects within the university, the community etc. You would be surprised by the amount of opportunities which can pop up if you look around. A good starting point would be to ask at your university, and explore ideas you normally wouldn’t – even a journalism project can work wonders for your confidence, your CV and your writing skills. You can also ask for paid placements, which will also earn you a little extra something something to keep you – partially – financially supported.

You may do it for the sake of your CV at first, but you will eventually get the greatest sense of joy and personal fulfillment in the process, while helping others and building on strong connections.

Be curious

Use all existing support and resources. Your professors are -usually- great and supportive people who are there to help you and offer their wisdom. For me, luckily they were there to answer all of my – gazillion – questions. Don’t be afraid to ask – I’ve been asking so many questions that it was like a class joke, which I never minded.

I heard as a joke recently that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people – while I find this extremely funny and true at times, I was always a supporter of the notion that it’s better to seem stupid than ignorant; you may run the risk of being politely annoying, but you will also be memorable – which means you’re half way there.

Live & Learn

Yes, life-long learning is a thing. Don’t consider a degree your “get out of jail” card; it’s not a destination, just a stop of your journey. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way – lectures, webinars, events. For instance, there are many universities offering free online courses, such as Coursera etc. which can help you dig deeper in whatever it is that interests you.

Be relevant 

Read; read online, offline, stay informed on topics you consider important and  that you would like to work on. However, make sure to get all-rounded knowledge as well, which is an absolute must in our profession. You will find this particularly useful during job interviews as well. Research successful comms campaigns – what worked, what didn’t work, what inspired you.What’s in the news, how you can use existing knowledge to move ahead. There is no virgin birth if you ask me – we are all the combined effort of everyone and everything we’ve ever known, so don’t be afraid to use this as a starting point.

Be present online. Yes, you know you will eventually have to produce and share content on all platforms so it’s crucial that you familiarise yourself at least with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media and digital skills are completely transferable and are growingly not considered  an advantage but a pre-requisite, so make sure you are on top of your game. A good starting point would be comms professionals and bloggers, such as http://wadds.co.uk/http://adaywithoutoj.com/,

http://www.comms2point0.co.uk/ among others and media outlets.

Network, network, network

I find the UK a fair market – if you’re good, sooner than later you will be recognised. To put it simply, it’s not about who you know most f the times, however, it is always good to broaden your network as you never know who you may cross paths with. Someone may end up being a client, a colleague, a journalist. This will not help you get ahead; it will help you learn from others, meet like-minded people and may help you get a foot in the door – i.e. for a job opportunity or a reference.

Build your online community; start following people who you consider influencers online, try and get engaged in conversations, listen and learn. It’s like everything else – no one will will ask you to join their club, come up to you and ask to be friends or offer you a job out of nowhere. You will have to earn it, by putting yourself out there.

Industry bodies are always a good option to help you grow as a professional and network, such as CIPR and PRCA.

Last but not least, be memorable, be creative, be yourself.

Don’t think for once that you will have to change who you are to fit the industry. There will be a bunch of compromises to be made, but don’t let your talent get suffocated. You will not get to make the rules – at least not just yet, but  as mentioned previously, you can bend them and make room for your aspirations if you work as hard.

Be polite; be respective; find your own style and pace to do things. There will always be someone more organised, or more creative, or more skilled on the phone. So what? Try and learn from them, and make that an incentive to get better – you will find your own way of delivering everything else in the process when working on your craft. Think of how you want to be perceived and be it.

* #iworkinpr is a pretty fun blog which can give you a taste of PR every day shenanigans – imagine it with the Benny Hill soundtrack on the background.

Advertisements

Region’s media debate their future

Leading figures within the industry, including Chris Jackson of BBC’s Inside Out, Gerry Foley of ITV News, the Editors of Sky News, Johnston Press, the Journal and The Northern Echo, gathered at the David Puttnam Media Centre in Sunderland on the 9th of March to discuss the future of media, with Labour’s Shadow Media Minister Helen Goodman MP being one of the keynote speakers.

Due to the gradual change from one medium to another, regional and local media are facing vast changes and challenges, like the falling circulation of papers and the constant competition for advertising revenues. In order to ensure survival, the regional press must find new ways of engaging with consumers by embracing digital media. They have to be more creative on how to capitalise on the power of their brands online: everything is still on the table, from pay walls to the free distribution model. We shouldn’t hang on terms and labels such as ‘newspapers’ anymore.

The ‘newspapermen at heart’, as they admitted, editors from the first panel agreed that they don’t know where media are going, but they are positive and it’s good fun. Northern Echo admitted that they haven’t addressed yet the issue of how to make money online. No-one has cracked the business model to take the industry forward – maybe only Google knows where the money is. Had they moved faster though, they could have made a big mistake – and MySpace was used as an example to back-up their argument. They refused that the industry is at panic stations, which left the audience wondering how can’t they possibly ignore the pink elephant in the room.

Although a lot of readers are traditional with reduced or no interest in online, local newspapers must evolve to accommodate to every audience’s needs. Everything should be used alongside papers by enhancing it with multimedia elements. We heard that people’s sphere of interest in news is within a 16-mile radius of where they live, making local media indispensable part of the community. Who else can take up local causes like regional titles can?

Sky News launched recently Sky Tyne and Wear, as a way of getting away from conventional TV, Simon Bucks told the audience. His defensive behaviour when asked about figures on money or users, lead to an obvious overall disappointment. Their move of going from ads to subscription raised many issues. Even if it doesn’t make any money though, that is not the point; I guess that is a sign of the future. Those who can afford to produce more online outlets for their brand will survive; because either if the pilot is successful or not, Sky will be considered as a brand much contemporary with a strong online presence.

The issue of PCC electrified the atmosphere; Helen Goodman considered it “failed and utterly discredited” when for Bob Satchwell “it worked just fine for regional and local press”. The Shadow Minister stressed how current rules allow enormous monopolies but don’t support the independency of local businesses. “News is not just a commodity to be bought and sold, local media are not a shop front for international businesses. They are vital for our democracy, as they hold local authorities to account and support local identity and culture. The public want and are entitled to local news.”

Overall, the taste left from the media conference is bittersweet. On one hand, digital enhances opportunities for publishers, increasing appetite for news and information. But on the other hand, a lot of hard work needs to be done. The focus should be put on the content instead of the advertising, which some local newspapers seem to forget. Newspapers must invest in quality, perhaps in a smaller pool of specialist journalists who will add value in the new age. Analysis is what separates print from online media, and if we keep delivering products of an exquisite quality, eventually “the money will follow the eye-balls”, in Satchwell’s words. ‘We might live in a global media world, but life is still local”, so I guess there is still light at the end of the tunnel for local media.

http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/north-east/news-and-views/107735/maria-petroula-loupa

ML


%d bloggers like this: