What qualities do you need to get into Digital PR? Digital PR Executive, Hannah Jordan, shares 6 tips for getting a job in digital PR.
HOW I LANDED A JOB IN DIGITAL PR
My name is Hannah Jordan and I specialise in Digital PR. I decided to follow a career in PR as I craved an interactional role in a creative agency. PR appealed to me as I am a people person and love building relationships and connecting with different personalities. Additionally, English is a strength of mine; I enjoy writing and communicating. PR offers me the opportunity to use my creative skills to create campaigns through ideation and spotting opportunities in the media.
I graduated from Birmingham City University in July 2021 and secured a digital PR role at ClickThrough Marketing. I feel very lucky to have secured my target role so quickly, particularly in such a competitive industry and challenging year. Although I gained invaluable experience and advice during my degree, the following tips also apply to aspiring PRs who haven't done a PR or marketing course.
Here are the steps I took to improve my chances of landing myself a job in digital PR:
6 tips for getting a job in Digital PR
Build Up Your Work Experience
I found that having PR experience before graduating was the best way to secure a job in digital PR. The digital PR world is highly competitive so acquiring experience is imperative to stand out against other candidates. My degree course includes a placement module to gain practical experience. However, due to Covid-19 employment protocols, PR companies were largely working from home and did not have the capacity to accommodate university placements in the workplace. Despite this challenge, I took the initiative and found an opportunity to volunteer as PR and Social Media Executive at Birmingham Jazz Radio virtually alongside my studies. This opened my eyes to the world of PR and whilst giving me the opportunity to put academic theory into practise, it also provided me with the assurance that this was the right career path for me. The experience plus the fact that I had shown determination and initiative helped to differentiate me from other candidates.
- If you struggle to secure scheduled work experience, approach agencies and businesses that may be interested in voluntary PR support.
- Network through LinkedIn to ensure you spread your net as widely as possible to unearth an opportunity!
Make Your CV Stand out
It’s imperative to have a well-structured CV with the appropriate skills and experience clearly set out. Visually it must stand out too - this can be a creative CV that you can put together on programmes like Adobe InDesign which can drastically improve the appearance. A comment from my employer during my interview was how my CV was really striking and stood out.
When creating my CV, I put PR experience at the top so that it would be the first thing my future employer would see. I placed my university modules which were relevant to PR directly below to showcase my educational understanding of the subject. Additionally, adding characteristic soft skills that marry well with PR showed recruiters that I have the personality that they were looking for. This could be confidence, optimism, resilience, problem-solving, multi-tasking, communication etc. Your CV should be your golden opportunity to sell yourself and portray how you would be the right fit within the digital PR team.
- For layout inspiration check out CVs on Pinterest to make your CV more interesting!
- If you don’t have access to Adobe, tailor free online CV templates – don’t reinvent the wheel but be creative!
Have a ‘Don’t Give Up Mentality’!
Don’t give up at the first hurdle! Securing your first digital PR job is difficult and it may take many interviews. From experience I can say with confidence that if you are not successful, asking for feedback is a great way to understand what you can do to improve for future interviews. Maybe your PR experience did not come across strongly enough, or did you perhaps not put certain important attributes across clearly? Feedback is valuable because it highlights things to work on before your next interview.
Additionally, resilience is an important attribute to have in PR as journalists and clients will reject pitches from time to time. It is an important skill to react positively to rejection as this mindset will you help you continually refine your approach and improve your skillset and progression in PR.
- Thank your interviewer.
- Express disappointment but remain courteous.
- Express your motivation to improve.
- Ask politely for specific feedback.
- Let the interviewer know that you value honest constructive advice!
Build Your PR Knowledge
To give yourself the best chance of securing a job in digital PR, continue learning about PR and keep current with industry trends whilst in education and during the job search. My degree was based on Business/Promotion in the fashion industry, so this broadened my knowledge before starting my career in PR, and made my CV stand out. I then tailored my module/subject choices to maximise my PR exposure. If you haven’t completed a degree in PR, there are online courses and videos online to broaden your knowledge from PR experts, this will improve your skillset and improve your CV.
- Increase your knowledge by enrolling on free PR courses online.
- Watch PR blogger videos on YouTube to see successful PR campaigns and seek inspiration.
Be Socially Savvy
It’s important to be aware of what is happening in the media. PR is a very fast paced industry and it’s crucial to be on top of your game. Before interviews make sure that you are clued up on everything happening in the news and trending topics so that you can offer strategies and campaign ideas.
This applies to all jobs because being socially aware about industry news and trends will demonstrate a genuine interest to your employer and your broad knowledge will provide a basis to help build relationships.
- Google Trends is a great way to see what is trending in the media.
- Twitter is another great platform to see what journalists are writing (check journalist request hashtags: #JournoRequest.
Create A Portfolio
Building a portfolio to present your university work and/or experience is a great way to show potential employers your personal style and creative flare. I built a creative portfolio on a website to make my work accessible and posted an Instagram portfolio.
I added PR campaigns, and any work relevant to show my employer that I have good written skills, creativity, and a strong work ethic. If you don’t have a degree, think about creating campaigns that will demonstrate your ability and a desirable skillset.
By doing this you can direct your target employer to your best showcase material, show them early in the process that you are innovative and use your initiative and demonstrate that you already have experience working on PR related modules.
- Free portfolio websites include: Behance, Dribbble, Coroflot, Adobe Portfolio, Carbonmade, Cargo, Crevado, PortfolioBox.
Digital PR is an exciting, creative career to embark on. To be successful in securing your first PR job you must be resilient, create an innovative CV and portfolio, showcase your PR skillset and experience; take initiative by staying current and well-informed and let your personality shine through!
It’s rare to be successful in your first interview, however the more interviews you do the more confident you will be for future interviews and ultimately secure your first job. Keep on trying- you can do it!
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