Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Graduate Schemes..How can you stand out from the crowd?

October in final year, dissertation is starting to roll, communication audit is gaining pace and then there is portfolio (not to mention that trying to get a 1st is likely to cause health problems..Oh great!).
It doesn't sound much when down on paper but believe me it is extremely stressful and finding enough hours in the day is becoming a skill that is definitely going to help later in life! To add to the stresses of final year there is also the 'what next' to consider...So what next?
There are graduate schemes galore from the large PR agencies, but competition is steep.. with PR being an ever increasing sector it is gaining popularity at a dramatic pace and many PR graduates will find themselves pitted against the likes of Oxbridge and even Boston University graduates.

With this in mind action is required. I feel that having a specialist area is important in making a person stand out in interviews and so whilst keeping an eye on all areas of PR I will be looking at crisis communications as my area of speciality, so much so that I will be covering the topic in my dissertation.

I will also be up-ing my online presence in an attempt (hopefully not a futile one) to increase my chances of potential future employees seeing what I am capable of and hopefully cause a spark of interest around my own personal brand.

Whilst this is a good start I will also need to come up with some new and creative ideas to make me stand out from the crowd...

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Back to 'School'

With placement finished and a jam packed summer had, this is the point where every final year student realises that they should have begun reading and planning for the D-word, as well as putting some serious thought into where they will head once graduating.

With the constant reminders on how hard it is to get a job in any industry it has got me into a bit of a tiz as to whether I should begin with applying to graduate schemes now, as I had previously intended to take some time out and do some teaching in beautiful foreign lands among other constructive activities (for a comical example of how not to spend a gap year check this out- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU). I am aware that once you are in the rat race it is incredibly hard to 'duck' back out again..but with the economic climate as it is, is it wise to jump on board as soon as possible (pending actually being offered a grad role!)? Any thoughts from both in and out of the PR sector would be great.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Newbies to PR...don't take it to heart

I was recently trying to create a PR opportunity by arranging for an editor of several local papers (who and which shall remain nameless) to visit a care home within their local area.

The aim of this was to create relationships within the media local to the area and give them an insight into what life in a care home is really like.

When enquiring what the news hook was for this visit I explained that it was really just to meet and greet…I was promptly replied to with an email that was rude, sarcastic and pretty disheartening…needless to say I will not be contacting this 'ruthless, hard-bitten and crucial story hunting' journalist again.

Glad I'm acquiring a thick skin all part of being a PR I hear...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Top Tips to make the transition of student to professional easy

Having been a student for four years prior to my work placement I found that I had a deep rooted student mentality. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing it is perhaps not the best way to fit into to a corporate environment.

So thought I would put some tips together for those of you who are looking into placements for the coming year:

1. Dress code - Make sure you find out what kind of a dress code the office is that you are going into. It looks more professional to be dressed to smart than slightly scruffy

2. Take notes whenever possible - Always keep a pad and paper in hand, it not only helps you to understand and looks like your paying attention (even when you aren't sure what they are talking about) but will pay dividends when needing to look back over what you have done for those reflective essays!

3. Get feedback - This is vital for your development during your placement. Although it is a daunting prospect it is so very important. It not only helps you get recognition for all of the things you are doing right but also will give you the chance to chat about your weaker areas, and how to improve them. The best way of doing this is to set up a series of development meetings with your managers, outline points that you wish to develop and give them the opportunity to give you some of their own. This will help you to work towards specific aims thus helping you to get the most out of your placement

4. Don't email/interact with those above you in the same way you do your friends - This is a common mistake, and one that I have made several times. The most comical being when I gave an enthusiastic shake of my fist in a one to one with the comms director...this later resulted in my manager asking me why I shook my my fist at the director...So word of warning, body language is an important thing to gauge!

5. Try to get involved in meetings - Any contribution is better than no contribution. Even though at times it is frightening that you may say the wrong thing, it shows you are interested and paying attention, employers love it

6. If you have to stay late as you have a bit of work you could do with finishing - Do it. Don't think “oh I’ll come in early to do it”. Just stay that little bit longer and get it done. Even if you think that no one has noticed, karma ensures that it pays off in the end...believe me

7. Ask questions - Yes its annoying, yes you don't want to seem like you don't understand but how are you ever meant to know if you don't ask?

8. Don't spend all day emailing your friends - Regular checks are carried out by large companies to check that you are not wasting precious working hours being an email socialite. No matter how you delete your emails they can always be found again

9. Check, recheck and check your work again - It may seem obvious but it is so easy to miss a comma here, skip a word there. If it makes it easier, close the work down and come back to it a bit later, it saves a lot of embarrassment when your managers check your work and point out some extremely obvious mistakes

10. Always offer to help - If there is a small task up for grabs offer to do it, it shows that you are keen and eager to help. It gives employers a sense of reliability in you, which is not a bad thing in the slightest

11. And last but by no means least, do not moan about your job via social media sites - The internet is a dangerous place, once something is uploaded it never disappears. We have all heard stories of people being sacked due to their facebook status, it happens, just don't let it happen to you

So there we go a quick top tip guide to making the transition of student to professional, it's not easy but play the game, stick to the tips and you will not go far wrong.

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