In our latest blog, Eve Worthington, gives us her top tips on how the new generation of university PR students can make sure they end up being the cream of the crop!
Thousands of young people across the land are soon to begin one of the greatest experiences of their lives… the world of university! Many moons ago I was that eager young PR graduate embarking on an exciting new chapter of my life. Not only did it end up being a fantastic time socially for me but, 19 years since I started my course, my degree really did put me on the right path for what has been a rewarding and fruitful career journey so far.
So, to help the next generation of PR students ensure they don’t waste the opportunity ahead of them, here are my top tips on how they can make themselves stand out from the crowd during their time at university and hopefully land that allimportant job when it’s over!
Read, read and read some more!
Working in PR means you have to communicate well across the board and an important part of this is by the written word. Emails, press releases, features, blogs, social media posts to name just a few. To establish your own writing style the more you can read in general the better.
And don’t forget the news. Reading newspapers, magazines, publications of interest and generally having an interest and awareness of what is happening in the area you think you may want to work in in the future will be of great benefit.
Approach your tutors
Don’t be afraid of your tutors, they are employed to help you! Most have not only got the theoretical knowledge and understanding of what you need to do to pass your course but they will probably also have real experience of working in the industry itself. So make sure you make the most of the opportunity that they present – listen, question and learn from them.
Join a professional body
Both the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) run student membership schemes at really reasonable rates. By becoming a member you can get access to some interesting and worthwhile information including the latest developments in the industry. You’ll get access to networking opportunities, potential training sessions and an insight into best practice as well as the chance to make connections as you look to embark on your career. Don’t forget that knowledge is power!
If I had to pick the most important top tip, this would be it. Practical experience goes such a long way. When I’ve employed graduates in the past, I always checked CVs to see what kind of extra PR-related activities the students had got up to whilst at university and the ones that had shown initiative and motivation to find work experience placements always stood out. There’s no doubting that’s it’s tough out there and the competition even for placement is fierce but you have to show future employers that you have a real desire to work in the industry. And you learn so much from the experience too!
Not all PR courses have a practical digital element to them but in the real world these skills are essential and growing even more vital by the day. So if you do get the opportunity as part of your studies to learn how to do video filming and editing as well as social media and even bits of graphic design make sure you jump at the chance. If you don’t then be aware that you’ll need to get up to speed in this area so get in touch with the CIPR or PRCA for advice or look for work experience opportunities where you can learn on the job.