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Public relations jobs (and 10 ways to prepare for your first interview)

Looking to score your first job in the public relations industry? 

If so, let this article show how you can prepare yourself for a successful career in the public relations industry by giving you my best insights on how to prepare yourself for the interview.

Now, there’s lots of advice on how to get a job in any industry.

“Create a great resume and put it out there,” they say. Well, PR jobs require more than a cover letter and a big smile.

Our industry tends to be competitive and just showing up with a diploma will rarely help you make the cut.

So, how do you get public relations jobs?

1. Learn the difference between marketing and PR

Brush up on your understanding of what public relations is, how it’s used by various brands, and why we need it.

It’s rare to find marketers who truly understand the actual difference between marketing and PR.

You should make sure that you are one of those who intimately understands what kind of job you’re applying to.

2. Always show that you understand win-win-win

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to think win-win-win. Most people understand the concept of win-win, but it’s when it comes to win-win-win that magic starts to happen.

Here are three examples of wins:

Win 1: Benefits for the employer from hiring you.

Win 2: Benefits for the clients of the employer from hiring you.

Win 3: Benefits for your passions and ambitions — if you get the job.

When talking with anyone professionally, make sure you spend equal amounts of time outlining each type of win.

3. Highlight a specific edge you have over others

As the “new kid on the block”, you’ll have a hard time getting the job based on your skills alone. So, you’re probably on equal footing with lots of other potential recruits. You need an edge, something that will distinguish you from the competition. Here’s how people often talk with each other after the interviews:

“I like that woman who was also a mountain climber.”

“What about that man who used to volunteer in Africa?”

“We should hire the one who used to be a professional poker player.”

What will people say about you when your interview is over? Have you given them something that will make you easier to remember?

4. Make sure to give your personal brand some thought

A good way to showcase your understanding for public relations is to establish your own personal brand and position it via both social- and traditional media. Walking the walk is always better than just talking the talk. Use social media to showcase who you are and how you can add value.

5. Give your LinkedIn page a real boost

LinkedIn is, objectively speaking, boring. However, you can be sure that potential employers will check your profile prior to your interview. Make sure your profile should show a clear direction. A distinctive and deliberate forward motion in your life. Employers look for a storyline in your career path. If they can see that you’re constantly moving forward, that will flatter them that you see their brand as a deliberate step forward in your career.

Also, remember to hustle for recommendations and social proof of any kind. It will make your profile come to life.

6. Be ready to pitch yourself

As a PR consultant, you must be able to pitch yourself. After all, if you must be able to pitch others, pitching yourself should be second nature. When I was looking for a job myself back in the day, a friend of mine introduced me at a cocktail party to his boss, a big shot PR agency CEO. My friend introduced me as the greatest PR writer no one had ever heard of. The CEO looked me dead in the eye and asked me, “what do you have that my other writers don’t?” I hadn’t prepared and my answer was, unfortunately, not very impressing.

Always be prepared to pitch yourself in 10 seconds, 20 seconds and 30 seconds — practice in front of a mirror.

7. Equip yourself with a future vision of PR

As a young PR professional, you’re literally the future of our profession. And any young mind fresh out of school should have an idea about how they want the future to be, right? Make sure that you have ideas on how you think that the PR industry should evolve.

8. Find your true passion for PR

Don’t pretend to be interested, be interested. And make sure you have at least some knowledge to validate your passion. A good hiring manager can taste your authenticity in the air, so don’t try to fake this. We all get easily seduced by passionate people. We respect and admire their passion. Passion flows from your goals. Identify those goals, visualise them, and live them inside your mind until you fall in love with your vision of what you want your professional career to amount to.

9. Find a way to demonstrate your writing skills

There are tons of potentially useful skills you can bring to the table, especially in this day and age. But no skill in PR will be more helpful to you than being able to communicate through written words. If you know how to write well, make sure that potential contacts in the PR industry have somehow seen samples of your writing portfolio.

10. Roll up your sleeves and do some hustling

You’ll need to hustle. To hustle means to leave no stones unturned, to care less about the odds of success and to do whatever you can do, no matter how big and small.

Are you on their mailing list?

Are you tracking their social media channels?

Are you going to the same events they go to?

Do you know the names of the people working there?

Are you making insightful comments on their blog?

Are you sharing their messages in social media in a thoughtful manner (they probably have monitoring software)?

Can you get someone who knows them to put in a word for you?

Who can introduce you to the right person?

Have you been blogging, vlogging, or podding about their important case studies?

Can you pitch yourself into a trade news story or an influencer blog post in which you namedrop them as your dream brand to work for?

Can you pitch them a series of awesome guest blog posts on their blog?

Are you attending their events?

Getting into public relations can be daunting, but it’s one of the most exciting jobs in the world if you’re passionate about communication, building relationships, and behavioral psychology.

Photo by Venveo on Unsplash.

Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.org/
Jerry Silfwer aka Doctor Spin is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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