So, you’ve graduated and are seeking an internship (or job!) in PR. Or maybe the mid-year shift has made you realize that you’re in need of a major career overhaul. Either way, getting your foot in the door for a PR position can be tricky. The ratio between journalists and publicists makes the field highly competitive. And with an ever changing digital landscape making the need to manage public image a 24/7 task, publicists are expanding their skillset beyond communications.
So, how do you land a position in PR with no experience?
What DO you want?
Are you interested in having beauty clients? Maybe you love chasing all of the new restaurants in town? Figure out the niche you want and research agencies that specialize in it. This can help you map out your action plan and figure out the skills you can highlight on your resume and interview. Maybe you’ve never pitched a day in your life, but you’re a strong writer and have a knack for technology.
Do your homework
Do your research when it comes to your agency of choice — when was it founded? Who is the founder? What is its mission statement and does it align with what you’re seeking? Familiarize yourself with prominent media in the niche the agency works within — what magazines are they consistently working with? What are the outlets covering the clients in their area? Being able to pull up with knowledge on their most widely pitched outlets will show that you are capable of researching and understanding what they do.
Don’t expect glamorous work just because you want to land a gig with one of the best fashion PR firms in town. Sure, you will get to attend grand opening parties and other events throughout your tenure, but it will come with a lot of work. Agencies will sell the internship, it’s what they do. But being on the bottom rung of the ladder means that you will be the one building lists, packing up 130 mail outs, hand delivering gifts and more. Managing those expectations can help better prepare you for the job.
Build your network
Making professional connections can be instrumental to landing an internship or job and getting a gauge for the industry in your city. Do some LinkedIn sleuthing and go to PR and marketing happy hours in your area. Put yourself out there and reach out to people via Instagram or even by email. Keep your request brief and upfront, and don’t ask to meet for coffee. Most people will agree to it but no one actually wants to (unless you actually know each other). Let the person know you’re interested in what they do and want to chat for twenty minutes (or thirty) about their journey at a place of their choosing.