09 July 2013
Alice Baker, Account Manager

Going from Grad to Great

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The sun is shining, Glastonbury is over and Andy Murray has won Wimbledon. It can only mean one thing – the start of summer? On the contrary – it is graduation season.  

For many, graduation is one of utter relief and the much anticipated end to three years of hard work. But when students do finally get the chance to throw that mortarboard in the air, is it really the end? Actually, it is only the beginning.

The PR industry is a profession that continues to be one of the most popular for graduates and provides fantastic career prospects, varied work and a whole host of opportunities in a variety of sectors. To get a foot in the door, work experience and internships are vital to kick start any PR career. That said, it is also an industry that is notoriously difficult to crack. So, what are the secrets to PR success? And what are the things every graduate should know?

1. Play the numbers game
As my mother would say: "don't put all your eggs in one basket". Apply for as many internships as you can, because unfortunately, competition is fierce. And remember, don't take rejections personally!

2. Do your homework
With the above said, make sure you do your homework and find an agency that is right for you. Knowing about the agency will not only make you look great in the interview, but it will also allow you the opportunity to talk about why you'd be a good fit. If it's not going to be right for you, don't apply.

3. Introductions are key
Even if you're just applying for work experience sending your CV and a covering letter is vital. There is no need for it to be long, but it should be polite, express your intentions as well as outline a bit about you and your contact details. And for goodness sake, don't forget to proof it!

4. Dress to impress
While many PR agencies opt for a more casual way of dressing, it's a common mis-conception that graduates coming for an interview can wear jeans. Trust us, you can't. Always dress to impress, no matter what the agency type.

5. Sell yourself
When you're being interviewed make sure you SELL YOURSELF and talk through all of your key skills. Saying you have 'no PR experience' is not the end of the world, but saying that you have obtained x, y and z skills through your part time job or university experience is really important.

6. Show you mean business
If you're coming for interview, or even starting an internship, come prepared and bring a notebook. While most agencies will always provide you with whatever stationery you need, by coming prepared they'll know you are really keen and ready to work.

7. Make friends
With so many agencies out there, it's surprising how many people cross paths during their careers so the best advice when you're starting out is to make friends with anyone and everyone. Even more so with any journalists you get to speak to. You never know who you'll bump into in the future...!

By following the above, you will be well on your way to graduate success and once you do begin your internship or your first job, make sure you follow these three golden rules:

• Turn up on time
• Listen hard and listen well
• Ask lots of questions

Westgate is always willing to offer work experience to enthusiastic under-grads and graduates who are eager to kick-start their PR careers. If this sounds like you, then drop us a line: 01732 779087 or email info@westgatecomms.com.



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