I am passionate about my job in PR and can totally understand why a
career in our industry is seen by many young people to be their ultimate
I am also delighted that these young people have many more opportunities
to study for both BA and MA degrees in public relations - which should
be of immense benefit to everyone in our industry as well as continuing
to improve our professional standards and knowledge.
As we all know, the PR industry is all about personal communication,
attention to detail, intuition, research, good thinking, creativity and
so on. Many people looking for jobs apply these skills to their job
hunting process and achieve excellent results. I will always pay far
more attention to an application that catches my eye and has had some
thought applied to it.
However, I am totally appalled by some of the dreadful job applications
that I receive from students who are just about to graduate with degrees
in public relations.
A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a PR undergraduate at Leeds
Metropolitan University which has to be the worst example of bad
practice that I have ever seen in our industry. It was a photocopied
letter on appalling paper stock. There was no salutation, no signature
and the quality of the photocopy was so poor that the applicant had gone
over some of the letters in a different coloured pen to make sure I
could read it.
Having spent three years studying PR, what has this university taught
this young lady? Doesn’t she understand the importance of presentation,
content and research? If this is the best they can do, they should all
give up and go home.
Sadly this is not an isolated case and every week I receive a mixed bag
of applications - although many are absolutely excellent. However, there
are still far too many people sending out letters that are riddled with
mistakes. I would urge every undergraduate looking to get a job in any
industry to find out as much as they can about how to make the best
approach and stand out from the rest of the pack (in a positive
They must do their homework. I have a name - find it out. We have
interesting blue chip clients - tell me how you could help them. Show me
a bit of creativity and understanding of our industry. Purchase a PRCA
handbook - it has all our details in it and is a small investment that
could help you get started on a good career.
When I receive dreadful applications, I sometimes send them back to the
sender with some frank comments on what they are doing wrong. In most
instances, I never hear from them again but I hope that I am doing them
a favour by stopping them from making such stupid mistakes in the
Finally, my message to the business schools that are breeding our future
practitioners is please teach your students about the value of
presentation and demonstrate to them how they should go about getting a
job before the very substance and value of their course is questioned by
their future employers.