A communication graduate’s tips for entering the world of PR

By Emily Connell, Account Coordinator

As high school students embark on their end of year formals, and soon-to-be university graduates finish up their final exams, I thought I’d reflect on my experiences this year as a PR graduate at Sefiani.

Like most of my cohort, I descended on the job hunt not long after graduating. During this time, I found a multitude of tips on how to write the perfect cover letter and nail interviews, but very few that dive into what to expect once you’re in your first serious role. With that in mind, here are my top five tips for graduates starting out in PR…

1. Think about where you’d like to begin
If you’re sure PR is for you, have a think about which area of PR you’d like to start in, and where you can best apply your strengths. While it’s great to gain all-round experience in your career, you need to start somewhere, so figuring out where you can best apply yourself from the beginning will help give you the best start to your career. If you’re passionate about Instagram and Facebook, a job in digital and social media PR could be better suited to you at this stage than something like media relations for a professional services company.

2. Prepare to feel like you know nothing
After starting at Sefiani, I was overwhelmed with the amount of collective experience in the office, compared to how little experience I had. I felt that my skills were quite basic in comparison, however, using the experience of those in your team is a perfect opportunity to develop and hone your own skills. You’ll hear good feedback as well as bad, but never take it personally – your team is here to help you learn and grow, and feedback is the way to get there.

3. Be a sponge and soak up as much information as you can
Consider developing a mentoring relationship with one of your colleagues – not only can they provide you with practical advice and feedback, they can also be a great sounding board for any issues you might be having, as well as on your own professional development. Attendance at training sessions is also key; Sefiani Academy has been a great help in learning new ways to develop ideas and understand how strategies are formed and actioned.

4. Get ready to make phone calls. Lots of them.
One of your earliest tasks will be to pitch to journalists, and you will be terrified. You’ll get tongue tied, and you’ll hear a lot of the word “no”, but you’ll get used to it. Pitching is a key part of the job, even as you move up the ranks, and especially if you’re looking to become a senior specialist dealing with high stakes issues. Practice makes perfect, so ask your colleagues for their tips and tricks on nailing pitches.

5. Embrace challenges and set goals
Learning to prioritise and manage multiple demands is a skill you’ll need to develop, before you find yourself taking too much on and stressing out. Learn what time management methods work for you, and always carry a notebook to record new task requirements – you can’t remember everything. Set goals for personal development skills such as these, as well as career advancement – for example, aim to achieve a promotion in 12 months, and discuss with your seniors how you can get there.

If I could leave you with one message, it would be to have fun. Take advantage of the socialising opportunities your office holds – Sefiani’s staff drinks and park lunches have been a great opportunity for me to get to know my colleagues in a more casual environment. I’ve loved every day of my developing PR career, and I’m sure you will too.