Top tips for PR graduate scheme applications

These are some top tips for graduates seeing their first job in PR.

Babel's Narelle Morrison: think about the specialisms of the company you’re applying to
Babel's Narelle Morrison: think about the specialisms of the company you’re applying to
Personalise your application. 
Could your application be written for any PR company? If the answer is yes, chances are it’s not going to get anywhere. 
It should be easy to find out who the company’s major clients are and what campaigns or news they have recently announced.
For me, the candidates who shine the most are the ones who talk about why they want to work for us and can demonstrate why they would be a good fit.  
Think about the specialisms of the company you’re applying to. 
The agency you’re applying to might have several different teams, specialising in areas from healthcare to engineering to financial PR. Or the agency itself may be a specialist in a particular industry. 
Whatever you’re applying for, it’s crucial you demonstrate a passion for that area. 

Do provide detail in your CV. 
Include a short personal statement at the top of your CV including key work experience and what your career goals are. If the company specifically asks for a certain degree, A-Level or GCSE grades, make sure to include what grades you achieved.
Don’t leave it to the recruiter to search for these bits of information, as the vast majority simply won’t. For example, if you write your own blog, provide a link. 

But don’t exceed two pages for your CV. 
While detail is required, it’s recommended that your CV is not more than two pages long. 
Also, take care with the format – I’ve had two-page CVs sent to me before with five blank pages attached to the end.

Do demonstrate personality and passion. 
The applications that stand out are the ones that let the personality of the candidate shine through. 
Show what you’ve done that’s interesting. Perhaps you’ve been on a solo trip to China with no knowledge of the language or you could describe how you personally helped your team during a recent work experience placement. 

Don’t use clichés. 
Do you have examples to back up your claims? For example: "I’ve showed my hard work and determination through running the London Marathon in my goal time of four-and-a-half hours, raising £3,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital." 
If asked for examples of a PR campaign you liked, try and use original ones.
 
Do proof read your application. 
Make sure there are no typos or font inconsistencies and before you submit the application, ask a friend or family member to check it. They’re bound to find mistakes you didn’t notice.  
Do include a covering note in the body of the email and try to find out who you should address it to. 
If you’re unsure of who this might be, a call or email should help you find the answer. 

Do use the word count wisely and show your thinking. 
This is advice for all industry graduate applications. If you’re asked to give a 250-word answer to a question on an application form then use the 250 words. Do your homework. Back up your points with statistics and research and discuss key trends along with any contentious market issues. 

Narelle Morrison is the joint managing director of Babel PR 

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