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Want to start a career in PR? Here’s how to get your foot in the door

Posted by Ella Delancey on 12th May 2016

From carrying out a creative campaign programme, managing journalist relations to identifying new business opportunities, a good PR team is essential. Agencies are not just looking for anyone to fill the position. They’re looking for the ideal candidate that can effectively execute and deliver results.

Working in PR, graduates have the opportunity to get their career off the ground in a very short space of time. After just a few weeks they may be trusted to contact clients and take on more responsibility. Importantly, they’ll have the chance to develop and grow in all sorts of ways.

So what does it take?

I sat down with Debby Penton, Managing Director at Wildfire to find out what she looks for when hiring an ideal new member of the team. Read her thoughts below…

What qualities do you look for in a Graduate Intern or Account Executive?

“A bright, confident individual with a strong verbal and social skills. Previous experience is an advantage, but not absolutely necessary. Good writing skills are essential, because written communication across email, blogs, press releases and social media is fundamental to the role. Also, because PR is an industry geared around deadlines, they should also be able to work well under pressure.”

What might make you potentially reject a candidate?

“A lack of enthusiasm and passion during interview would set alarm bells ringing. And a limp handshake is a definite turn off! However, we’ve had candidates previously who may not have had the full skill-set for the job, but due to their personality and drive, we’ve taken them on. Being able to gel with the rest of the team is also a must.”

What sort of activities could a new member of the team expect to be doing?

“Working in PR really stretches your skills. A graduate could expect to be doing anything from pitching to journalists to writing content, and organising events. This all requires adaptability, attention to detail and imagination. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do too, and it’s not always easy. That said, if you see yourself as a confident people-person with a creative edge then this could be a great career for you.”

Anything else?

Consider starting your own blog, or writing for your university’s student newspaper. This will give you a great opportunity to understand journalistic practices, as well as examples of your writing to show potential employers.

If you’re interested in learning more about open positions at Wildfire, visit our careers page for more information.

Ella Delancey

A trained journalist, with a degree in English Language and Journalism from Kingston University, Ella began her career writing for local newspapers such as The River, followed by several internships within the media industry, including stints in fashion PR and social media agencies. These experiences fuelled her transition from journalism to PR, allowing Ella to combine her writing and creative skills with a deeply instilled ‘news sense’ to ensure she maximises coverage for her clients at every opportunity.

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