How to Find Your First PR Job: Survival Guide

Job Search, pencil and definition

By Michelle Arios

Whether you’re gradating soon or looking to gain some experience in the work world, getting your first PR job can be tough. Many companies want to hire someone with a proven track record, which is next to impossible when almost every HR department wants you to work with someone else first. Here are expert tips on surviving this job search and coming out the other end with success.

Build a network

The first thing you will want to do is to start building a network. Though you may not have experience with a brand yet, there is one brand you can start building right away: your own. Social media is key for this. Make sure that you have a presence on key marketing networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn. You can connect with people there and start to showcase your skills. This means that your time looking for a job is never wasted: instead, you are learning how to be a PR expert right from the very beginning. You should think about where you want to work and start building a network which incorporates them and their contacts so that you are better placed to pique their interest.

Create a blog

How will people find you when they are headhunting? Recruitment isn’t all about job ads – sometimes you want the company to come to you. While you are waiting for this to happen, make it easier for them to find you. Build a blog and start writing tips, news releases, and whatever else would catch the attention of your preferred industry. This will help you to rank in searches, so that when someone wants a PR expert, they can already get a feel for your style and whether you are a good fit for the job. This is so important as it allows firms to trust you before they even reach out with a job offer.

Engage with PR people

You might think that all PR people out there are your rivals, and that you should try to stay away from them as much as possible. That just isn’t true. There are plenty of scenarios in which being well-connected in the PR world can help you to find a job. Imagine that you have been chatting for a while with a senior professional, and have got to know each other quite well. When a junior position opens up at their firm, who do you imagine they will think of first? If you have made the right impression, it will be you – and you could be a shoe-in for the job.

Find a mentor

If you struggle to get going in the world of PR, a mentor might be the ideal person to help you survive. They have been through it all before and know just what to expect. They can steer you away from the common pitfalls, and may even be able to show you the way to job opportunities. They will help you to learn a lot about the industry before you even enter it, which is very important for future success. After all, once you get a job in PR, you still need to know how to keep it! They can also show you how to engage with your potential employees to get that all-important interview lined up, which will open doors for your dream position.

So long as you start acting as if you have a PR job already, you shouldn’t find your job search too difficult. It’s all about getting that experience right out of the gate!

Michelle Arios works as Marketing Assistant for BizDb.co.nz, a New Zealand business database.

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5 comments on this post.
  1. Nnenna Ekemezie:

    Hello Michelle Arios,

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I’m a PR student from Southeast Missouri State University. I was inspired by your post on all the helpful tips you provided that could benefit future PR professionals such as myself when searching for entry level position jobs in PR field.

    I learnt you work for a New Zealand business database as a marketing Assistant for BizDb.co.nz.

    How long have you worked in this position?

    On your day to day activities at this job, what are some of those challenges you face, and how do you navigate through them?

  2. Taylor Franke:

    Hi Michelle, my name is Taylor Franke, I am a PR major at Southeast Missouri State University. With graduation quickly approaching this December I really was needing advice on how to go about the whole “getting a job” process. I was reading your survival guide to finding your first PR job and found it helpful that you suggested to engage with PR people. How do I go about finding the right PR professionals to engage with? Do you have any suggestions on how to make those connections with senior level professional being so new to the game?
    Thanks!

  3. Malak Alshammari:

    Hello,

    This is Malak Alshammari, I’m a PR student at southeast Missouri state university, I’m minoring in Management. Thank you for the valuable tips.
    I have a question for you.
    How was your experience with blogging? And how did that help you to find your career?

  4. Culpwrit:

    Hi, Malak.

    I’ve been blogging for 10 years–never missing a week without posting. It’s a good discipline that forces me to write and/or edit something on a regular basis. My career was already well underway when I started blogging, but I have met dozens of young PR pros who have been discovered by agencies and brands that have taken note of their posts. Find a subject of your greatest passion and begin blogging. Ron

  5. Culpwrit:

    Networking at this point in your job search should be “more the merrier.” Some people spend more time trying to identify the right people to engage with, but they should simply try to meet as many people as possible. You’ll be surprised with who knows someone who knows someone that will open doors. Start with friends and family and try to come away from each of them with one or two contacts. The multiplying effect will net you hundreds of new contacts by the time you graduate later this year. Good luck.

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