What is PR?

What is PR?

Man writing in notebook

In an age where an entire company’s business can be made or lost in a single news piece or social media post, PR is more important than ever.

Working in PR is all about working with companies to manage their public perception and reputation, with the aim of improving their profile and driving increased business.

So if forming and maintain lasting relationships and getting to the nitty gritty of how to build a business sounds like your bag, read on…

The what

Whether a customer, a supplier or an employee, everyone who comes into contact with your company tends to make a conscious decision to do so. What you do as a company, how you do it and what you say all alters public perception of your business, and with it, your success.

PR teams spend their days compiling news and reports, liaising with the media and forming relationships with key influencers. Companies also host events

As with other marketing disciplines, PR jobs exist both in-house, and as part of an agency dealing with a number of clients. Each offer different advantages and disadvantages for those looking at an entry level role:

Agency:

  • Larger teams
  • Lots of opportunities for training and learning
  • Start with basics and work your way up
  • Opportunity to work with huge clients
  • Working on large scale, big budget projects

In-house:

  • At larger firms – many similarities to agency work
  • Will be more involved in strategy and vision
  • At smaller firms – much more responsibility
  • Active involvement in strategy and direct implementation from the start
  • Opportunity to build your own relationships
  • Own entire projects
  • Learn on your feet and move up quickly

One of the best things about modern PR, is that the focus is no longer on making a business look squeaky clean. To separate themselves in competitive markets, many companies now choose to brand themselves as disruptive, visionary or look to get behind an ethical cause.

No longer are companies looking for generic, bland PR strategies, and so firms can be far more innovative with their approaches. On top of this, companies need to be able to stand out in a crowded marketplace, so are looking for ever more creative methods of communicating their message. Exciting indeed.

The who

As a graduate, you’re likely to start in a PR executive or assistant role. On this rung of the ladder, you’ll get the opportunity to work right across the spectrum, meaning that you get experience in all different areas. The job often involves being reactionary and so using your communication skills to respond to problems in the best way possible is essential

Having said this some standard responsibilities include:

  • Researching, writing a distributing press releases
  • Planning strategy and approach
  • Liaising with the media, other organisations and key influencers
  • Analysing and reporting on all coverage
  • Planning and organising events
  • Preparing and writing publicity magazines, brochures and other media materials
  • Ordering and supervising relevant market research

The how

PR is an area that is open to all types of graduate. Most degrees will stand you in good stead for a career in PR, particularly if they involved lots of writing, but specifically advantageous are:

  • PR & Communications
  • Marketing
  • Politics
  • English
  • Business Management

However, as a highly competitive sector, what really matters is your soft skills and how you impress them onto a potential employer.

Communication skills are absolutely central to PR. The message that you’re sending out needs to be crystal clear, and your ability to network and build relationships will often set the platform for your success. This will all come down to how well you manage to get yourself across in an interview situation, but you can certainly look to bolster your CV with public speaking or performance experience.

Writing, especially early on in your PR career, needs to be top of your agenda, as you’ll be doing a lot of it. Writing and editing press releases, press kits, brochures and general communications will all be part of the job. Your CV itself is always the best way place to start; make sure it’s concise, clear and completely free of waffle. Consider starting a blog or writing freelance to establish a portfolio of your work.

Time management and organisation skills will help when you need to prepare for events and coordinate different strategies. If you’ve taken a key role in a society, this could be invaluable evidence of your organisational skills.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to cope well under pressure. Imagine if it’s 5 o’clock on a Friday and a story breaks that a leading figure has publicly criticised your service. You need to be able to take in all the information, come up with a plan and execute the strategy professionally, carefully and quickly.

If this has got you interested in a career in Public Relations, check out our PR graduate jobs, or our jobs in writing & editorial. We also have a variety of marketing graduate jobs on offer, all looking to hire immediately!

Alternatively, take a look at our complete list of graduate jobs in London for a whole variety of roles.

What is content marketing?

What is content marketing?

Man writing by window

It’s one of the fast growing sectors within marketing at the moment, with 77% of brands intending to increase their content marketing in 2016. More importantly for graduates, it’s a sector that offers many graduate positions across a whole range of different skill sets. But what on earth is it?

The what

In a world where people are switching off to traditional advertising, content marketing is all about writing quality content that engages people and raises awareness for a brand, product or service. The idea is that instead of convincing people to care about what your company is offering, you engage with your potential customers on something that they’re passionate about so that they pay attention to you.

Content marketing includes writing blogs and articles, creating visual and video content and the strategy and analytics behind it all.

A great example of a brand that uses content marketing to great effect is Red Bull. Their website and social media have become a resource for extreme sports videos, for which the brand has become synonymous. Not only does this raise brand awareness, it also benefits brand identity by being so closely associated with a target audience. It’s been said that they’re actually just a media company that happens to make an energy drink.

The who

Because content marketing is all about targeting a specific audience, while still relying heavily on creativity to make great content, it’s an industry open to a whole range of people with different skill sets.

Content quality is still king, and so content marketing will always need writers, videographers and designers to create the content itself. Then you have people responsible for sharing the content; social media experts, webmasters and strategists to make sure that the right people are reading what you make. Finally you have the analysts, who pore over statistics to make sure that the campaigns are successful, finding out what aspects worked, and what didn’t.

On top of this, content marketing works with, affects and involves a large number of other areas, including PR, search engine marketing, and social media.

The how

Paper overflowing a bin

So, what skills do you need to break into the content marketing world? Of course writing and storytelling are hugely important but one thing that is absolutely key in the content game is listening.

Listening to, and understanding the habits of your audience is absolutely vital to gaining an understanding of the sort of content that they’re interested in. You’ll be able to understand the best format, length, quantity and what kind of discussions they want to hear about.

It also helps if you can be a jack of all trades. No matter what area of content you want to work in, many roles will involve cross overs and so if you can demonstrate a deep skill in one area, and a veneer of knowledge across everything else involved, it can really benefit your chances of succeeding.

Like many careers, the more you read, listen to and watch around the subject will be key to impressing in applications and interviews, but don’t be afraid to start doing either. Have a go at setting up a blog, creating, analysing and promoting your own content, and your chances of gaining a top entry level role go up and up and up!

Don’t worry about making it industry specific, or targeted to a role you’re interested in. Just write about something you’re passionate about; it’ll shine through in your writing and will make putting the time and effort into it much easier!

Sold? Search through our marketing jobs and internships to find your dream role today!

 

7 Things to consider before you start your graduate job hunt

7 Things to consider before you start your graduate job hunt

What are you motivated by?

Are you looking for an opportunity to learn key skills? Is the work culture important to you? Are you motivated by money? Write a checklist of the general attributes you want to take from your first job. As well as the above, it’s also worth consider how important it is that you find the work rewarding, or whether you’re keen on good opportunities for growth.

What size company do you want to work for?

Graduate jobs exist in everything from the biggest employers in the UK to the very smallest, freshest companies. The larger companies are much more likely to have a set training system in place, and there’ll be a much more defined career path. On the other hand if you want to work in an environment where you’ll be trusted to work independently with more responsibility more quickly, an SME could be for you.

What can I be flexible on?

Write a list of all the attributes and opportunities you want your first company to have and order them by importance. Decide at what point you’d be willing to be flexible; your first job might not have everything on your list, but so long as you’re willing to compromise you may be able to tick off a lot of them.?

What do you want long term?

If you know what your longer term career goals are it’s worth looking up the job requirements for your ideal role. That way you’ll know the kind of skills and experience you’ll need to get there and you can start the search for your first role based on what you’ll learn.

What type of industry suits your skills?

Try to think in detail about the skills you’ve developed, in education or outside of it. Certain sectors may need certain specific hard skills, while others will be happy to accept all kinds of graduates provided they have the right level of certain basic skills.

What type of role should you apply for?

Once you’ve worked out the kind of industry you’re interested in do your research. Whether you’re more analytical or creative there’s a huge variety of jobs in almost every sector. Look at the level someone with your experience should expect to enter at, but don’t be afraid to apply above that. At worst you’ll always learn something from the process.

Are you prepared?

You’ve worked out what and where you want to go, what next? Get that CV in tip top shape, prepare for your interview and it’ll be your first day in no time!

If you still have any questions the best thing to do is ask us on Facebook or Twitter and we will get back to you ASAP!

Interview: What its really like working at a Top 5 Tech Company

Interview: What its really like working at a Top 5 Tech Company

thomsons-online-benefits-office
Thomsons London Office

 

If you like the sound of what Will and Malaika are doing, good news! Thomsons Online Benefits is looking for more graduates to join its talented team! Check out the role here.

“My graduation was on the Thursday, I went into inspiring interns on the Monday, the Tuesday I got put on the assessment day for Thomsons, and then on the Thursday I got the job!” ‘Malaika Olayiwola

Sounds good huh? We popped into the Thomsons Online Benefits office  to meet up with two of Inspiring’s big success stories, Malaika Olayiwola and Will Patterson-Fox to find out more about how their last 6 months have been with top tech company Thomsons.

What do they do?

Thomsons people and values
Thomsons Values Map

Thomsons use technology to revolutionise benefits systems for business and both Will and Malaika work on the business development team. It’s not quite your traditional sales role though. “People think you’re literally going to be pitching the whole product over the phone, but it’s not like that at all” says Malaika.

“People forget that selling is a social thing” adds Will, “it’s about talking and interacting with people”. Their day to day involves phone calls, social selling, social media and emails, and they’re both keen to emphasise how much of the role is about building relationships, far from the stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap attitude many people think of traditionally with sales.

More importantly, there’s an important balance between quality and quantity, according to Malaika who says “there’s no expectations of ‘you must make this many calls a day’, it’s not like that, productivity is important of course, but it’s not so strict”. Thomsons don’t impose any daily targets on their team, and monthly targets are introduced gently and only increased with experience and training.

There’s fantastic growth opportunities too, the pair say. “It’s a stepping stone to other areas of the business” Malaika points out, “in fact a lot of the people who work in different departments started off in the same role as us”.

Why Thomsons?

Thomsons break out area
Thomsons Break Out Area

 

“I think the thing that is really important and different about this company is that there is genuinely an open environment” explains Will, “the Chief Exec knows everybody, and he’ll walk around and talk to you.” It doesn’t get more open than that!

It’s easy for companies to claim they have an ‘open environment’ and a ‘work hard play hard attitude’. At Thomsons though it seems genuinely true, Malaika adding that, “Obviously everyone in the business puts a lot of pressure on themselves to overachieve, but everyone parties hard too so it’s a really fun culture to be in”.

It’s not just the environment that works at Thomsons, but the support and respect that they give their entry level employees. “You’re given respect and responsibilities straight away” according to Malaika, “people were so excited to meet us when we first joined and you feel important straight away, even though it’s your first grad job.”

The training too, is fantastic at Thomsons. Not only do you start with a week’s trip to Cluj in Romania for the company’s new hire academy, but the training program is consistent and thorough for the first 6 months, including 1-to-1 help and external training sessions.

“You can schedule time with really senior people in the company and say ‘look I’ve got this but I don’t understand it’” says Will, “and they will happily give half an hour of their time”. There’s genuine support, he points out, and it’s very much a team game, with everyone encouraged to ask each other if they have any problems or need advice.

Who Should Apply?

Thomsons London Office
Thomsons London Office

 

Convinced? We asked the pair their ideal candidate for the role. “I think that the thing about the role is that if you don’t necessarily visualise yourself in a sales position you could still be great” says Will. Malaika agrees saying “the person who I’d expect to be good in the position is someone who hasn’t necessarily thought about sales but has a lot of confidence and drive, maybe a bit competitive as well, but they are open-minded to it.”

“I didn’t necessarily have sales as my goal” Malaika finishes, “I thought, why not though, and for someone who’s not necessarily been thinking about sales for a while, it’s a great sales environment.”

If all this is starting to sound familiar, and you think you’d be a great fit for Thomsons, check out the role and apply today. If it’s piqued your interest in sales, check out our job listings for live graduate jobs in sales.

 

How to Build Professional Relationships in a New City

How to Build Professional Relationships in a New City

the best

A new city can be tough, and making new professional relationships even tougher. You’re all alone, the streets keep changing direction, names are unfamiliar, and you’re not even entirely sure what time zone you’re in. But before you decide to repack your bags without even introducing yourself at the new internship, keep in mind that this is part of what you signed up for- and it’s good. New friends are on the way to help you out. So take a deep breath and learn to play to your advantages.

You’ve already found the perfect internship, but here’s how to build extensive professional networks in your new international city.

First, identify your motivators.
You chose your current internship program for a reason: likely to gain knowledge in the field, to have something to put on your CV, to make work connections. Interrogate yourself using these basic questions to fully define your networking motives:

Do I want to work at this company in the future?
Do I want to work at a different company in this country in the future?
Do I simply want to work on building professional networking skills?
Am I open to making connections that can help me find jobs in any country?
Do I want to simply work abroad, don’t care where?

Once identified, these will influence your strategy for building a professional network in a new city. For instance, if you know you don’t care about working at your current internship company in the future, you can focus less efforts on building internal relationships and put more effort into seeking connections through public networking events, online websites, scheduling informational interviews, etc. Or maybe you want to get hired by your current internship provider – this will influence your end game, too.

And always be prepared: have a firm grasp on your goal and your own person. Have an elevator pitch ready (a brief summary of who you are and what you do); be ready to whip it out when opportunity puts you in front of the right person at the right time. This not only applies to your current company, but also to surrounding businesses and strangers working in the field.

Redefine yourself.
The beauty of starting from scratch in a new place is that nobody knows you. You can paint any picture you want of yourself and no one will contradict you. It’s a Start Over, but without any of the cons. If you had always wanted tell more jokes, or become a leader, or be recognized as the group counselor, or be seen as someone outgoing and confident, this is your chance to shed old skins and shine with a new light.

Step out of your comfort zone; redefine your boundaries and adapt a new persona. Overcoming these limits is easier in a neutral environment and will leave you feeling pretty proud of your efforts. Create an identity and flaunt it like the whole world is looking.

Once there, make personal connections.
Rather than focusing on professional relationships, think of personal relationships first. When warming up to someone, remember the basics of every kindergarten rules list: be nice, be respectful, treat others the way you wish to be treated. Before being coworkers or potentially advantageous career connections, they are people, and it’s no surprise that personal friendships last longer than work relationships.

Keep your priorities straight. Offer something intriguing before asking for help. Use networking to create your own opportunities. Find people you can relate to and talk to them. Even if they are not the CEO, they might one day end up in a higher or influential position; it’s much more likely that they will think kindly of you if the friendship started before they became king of the hill. Be an irreplaceable rockstar, but play it cool.

Also, be aware that the world is a big and, at times, strange place. It is important to adapt to potential cultural differences and new work styles, and appreciate them for what they are. Be conscious of local business culture best practices; don’t dive into a conversation about job op’s if standard-practice calls for three cups of tea.

Be bilingual.
This is especially important if you find yourself in a country where English is not the main language, but still relevant in countries with new slang or speaking conventions. Don’t just hang out with the expats or use charades as your main form of communication. Take a few classes, whip out the schooll textbooks, and try to strike up conversations. People will appreciate you trying and applaud the efforts. And once you hop over the language hurdle, just think of all the new connections you can make.

Not only does speaking more than one language improve and stimulate various parts of your brain, but it opens up the door for a variety of opportunities that might not be there otherwise. It can your raise your position internally with the company and offer opportunities to delve into a whole new country of businesses.

Research local networking events.
Start networking before you go. Brainstorm if you personally know anyone living there, no matter how distantly-related they are. Check alumni directories from university, and ask friends if they know anybody. Between friends of friends of friends and bizarre aunts, someone is bound to know someone that can be of use to you.

Once there, integrate yourself with the new city. Glance at your home country’s nearest Chamber of Commerce website to get familiar with local organizations and reach out to individuals that seem interesting. Professional networking events are not rare. Another great option is to research meet-up groups or local expat websites, both of which regularly host events that appeal to all sorts of interests. (Warning: do not just hang out with expats though! You still do want to learn a new language and meet locals).

Keep up contacts.
Keep in mind that internships aren’t over with the end date of the post. If you made strong, positive connections, don’t just disappear off the face of the earth once you move out of the office. Stay in touch and maintain your presence. Even if employment at the current place isn’t an option, it is more than likely that people in that field will hear of other openings that they can refer you to. Make relationships and impressions that last long after the echoes of your footsteps leave the building.

While starting a new life in a new place may seem daunting at first, it is important to view the experience as an opportunity, not just a challenge. Use the occasion as a chance to change, improve, and make a new set of work relationships that will take you to the new level.

 

Article contributed by Julia Zaremba, GoAbroad.com

Julia is an avid traveler, lifelong artist, theater geek, interior designer, future author, and occasional teacher. Originally from Germany, she was raised and started her university studies in Texas, before moving to Italy for her first formal teaching experience. Since then, she has traveled throughout Europe and the Americas, constantly on the look-out for the next adventure.

She is currently working as an editorial assistant at GoAbroad, hoping to encourage people to study abroad and experience the world beyond a textbook.

Workers admit the best (and worst) part of working with graduates

Workers admit the best (and worst) part of working with graduates

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Over 30% of UK businesses offer a formal graduate programme and many of those that don’t are still turning to graduates to fill their vacancies. As a result, more employees are finding themselves working alongside recent graduates, so we wanted to explore how UK workers felt towards graduates in the workplace – here’s what they told us:

The Good

  1. They’re Innovative: Starting out in the business world, graduates are full of enthusiasm and eager to contribute. In fact, workers reveal this to be their favourite thing about working with graduates as 56.6% admit they enjoy grads fresh ways of thinking and original ideas. Just out of university graduates aren’t constrained by the standard industry practices or business models that more mature professionals might be, 12.7% of workers said this means they offer their own unique opinions. So when you’re starting a new job don’t be afraid to speak up if you have any ideas, existing workers are excited by your new ways of thinking.
  2. They’re tech-savvy: When it comes to being tech-savvy, today’s graduates grew up in an era of computers and the internet. As a result they’re experienced in using a range of different technologies; and we found that 11.3% of workers viewed this to be a huge asset to the workplace as they are able to help with, and adapt to new office technologies. So if you see a colleague struggling at work and you know you have prior experience with that particular technology or platform, don’t shy away from helping them.
  3. They’re essential to progression: Though some workers admit it can be challenging to train a graduate, they accept that it is necessary. Of those asked, 13% said that graduates are essential to evolving the workplace and many believe that graduates become very valuable members of the team. So don’t feel like a nuisance during your training, workers understand they are producing the next generation of workers – be sure to ask any questions you have along the way!

The Bad

It’s clear that professionals and businesses reap the rewards of working with graduates, but they also admit to a few drawbacks. To help you tackle any worries you may have about the workplace, we uncovered what employees find most challenging about working with graduates. Here are some tips on how to overcome these issues:

  1. They lack experience: When asked what they find most challenging about working with graduates 56.3% said it was their lack of work experience. Workers found that graduates without experience didn’t understand the fundamentals of business, making them harder to work with. If you don’t have any previous work experience in your field, try to secure yourself a placement or internship before you leave university, or whilst job hunting. This will not only boost your CV but give you a deeper understanding of a working environment.
  2. They take time to train: A much smaller proportion of workers (10.2%) cited the time is takes to train a graduate as their least favourite thing about working with them. It is inevitable that this training process will have to take place, so while it’s going on, be sure to remain alert and interested. No one expects you to remember everything on your first day, but show you are paying attention and excited to learn.
  1. They won’t use the phone: A further 2.9% of workers found it frustrating when graduates didn’t want to use the phone. If these tasks are part of your job, then you can’t shy away from the responsibilities. Even if you are nervous at first, you should undertake all tasks to the best of your ability and over time you will become more confident in your role.

Graduates are the future and though workers admit they face the occasional challenge when working with a graduate, the results are hugely beneficial to a business and its professionals. So if you are starting your career at a graduate level remember our tips and don’t be afraid to offer your ideas and opinions!

 

About CV-Library

CV-Library is the UK’s fastest-growing online job site and attracts over 3.8 million unique job seekers every month. Founded by Lee Biggins in 2000, CV-Library boasts the UK’s largest CV database, containing more candidates than any other job board.

www.cv-library.co.uk

8 Ways to Boost Your CV at University

8 Ways to Boost Your CV at University

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It can be a daunting prospect thinking about life after University. In amongst all the other pressures of university life, particularly the hard study of third year, focusing on graduate jobs tends to drop quite far down the pecking order

But it needn’t be so stressful. There’s plenty of small and medium commitments you can integrate into your university life to prepare yourself for the big wide world. You may even find that you’re doing plenty already!

What’s important is that you know how to position your activities to put yourself in the most favourable light. Let’s get under way with…

Get a part time job

It may be that you have more pressing financial concerns for starting the job search early. While you may feel like a coffee shop job or spending weekends pulling pints isn’t embellishing your CV at all, it can actually be a huge boost provided you know how to spin it.

Companies looking to hire a graduate love talking about communication skills. They expect entry level candidates to have the ability to communicate both within the company and to clients with professional ease and the experience of dealing with customers every day will prepare you for this brilliantly. You’ve also proven you can effectively manage your time between work, a social life and study, as well as the development of problem solving and team work skills.

Don’t just get involved, lead!

Of course getting involved in a society, student newspaper or sports team can boost your CV. But what will really impress employers is if you’ve managed to juggle a leadership role with your studies.

Think about taking on an editorial role at the newspaper, or an officer role within your society. Even if you only feel like you can commit to a mid-level role, employers will know you’ve had valuable leadership experience and professional organisational skills. If you’ve worked with developing charity or sponsorship deals for your society, you’ve also developed key B2B skills.

More importantly, it’ll give you more professional examples to use in an interview situation to answer questions like ‘Tell me of a time you dealt with a conflict…’ as opposed to the latest argument with your housemate over the dishes.

Sell, Sell, Sell

Graduate jobs in Sales are in high demand at the moment, and while it might seem incidental, selling tickets or flyering on the streets is a great boost to your CV. If you’re looking for a Sales role, chances are your grad job won’t be as hard as trying to convince a passing student to take your unwanted flyer. It’ll give you good examples of when you had to get innovative, and will teach you tricks of the trade way before you even have to start.

Even if you don’t think a Sales job is for you, all sorts of applications will benefit from a Sales background. Any client facing role will need an element of persuasion to it, and if you want to become a freelancer or start your own business, you’ll be selling yourself every day.

Make connections with your tutors

Don’t be afraid to connect with your tutors, especially in art and design fields as the chances are that they were in the industry for a time before they took up teaching. This will have left them with plenty of contacts, and advice for how to get started. If you get on with them, they’re much more likely to open up their address book for you.

Use your careers service

Students tend to view careers services as daunting and outdated, but they often have amazing untapped resources that you only realise existed once you left, and wish you’d used. Once you’re out in the real world, you’ll realise the amount of professionals willing to give you free CV reviews and mock interviews drops to zero very quickly.

If you’re interested in starting a fledgling business at university, they can often help you with that too. The reality is that many careers services are under-used and resource rich, so no matter what your requirements are it’s always worth asking.

Talk to your older friends

If you have any friends who’ve recently entered the graduate jobs world, they are an invaluable resource. Being out in the big wide world gives you a perspective on all of the things you wished they’d done while at university to supplement your degree.

Even more importantly, if they’ve secured a graduate job, they’ll be able to chart how they got there and give you some strong guidelines on how to succeed.

Start Blogging

This is particularly relevant if you’re looking to go into PR, communications, marketing or journalism. In an ideal world it would be good to start blogging about the career you want to get into, but if you’re unsure, just start writing. Think about building a following and you’ll show you’re able to write to your audience.

If you want to take it a step up, download Google Analytics. You will learn how to use an incredibly important tool and hopefully have some successful figures to show to potential employers when you start looking for a job.

Volunteering your way to a job

Volunteering isn’t just a feel good way to spend your time at university, it can be a really important boost to your graduate prospects. Whether you want to work abroad or closer to home, many charities will be more than happy to accept your help in an area you want to move into. It’s a great way to cut your teeth in marketing, admin, PR, Sales and all sort of other sectors.

Lots of charities will offer free training schemes too, which can lead to accredited awards that will look really impressive on your CV, and give you something really fulfilling to talk about in an interview.

Interested in applying for graduate jobs when you leave university? Take a look at our graduate jobs page to see the kind of entry level roles on offer!