So, you want my job? PR apprentice at the City of London Corporation

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Elhaam Sahebdin's job as PR apprentice at the City of London?

It's not nice to be 'salty' about your previous employers, says Elhaam Sahebdin
It's not nice to be 'salty' about your previous employers, says Elhaam Sahebdin
Elhaam Sahebdin

Public relations apprentice, City of London Corporation

Starting salary/salary band for the job?

What qualifications do you need?
My current apprenticeship is a Level 3 Digital Marketing course that requires up to A-level or equivalent qualifications including functional skills in English and Maths – essentially your English and Maths GCSEs.

What level of experience do you need?
I already completed a business admin apprenticeship before I started this role, but, you can start straight out of your A-levels if you want. It may also vary if the opportunity has an age restriction. Otherwise, students are more than suitable for the role providing you have the academic qualifications above.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
I had no official experience in a public sector communications role, but I saw the work that people in comms did and my interest grew. The shift in new technology and the digital age means that your personal familiarity with comms channels like social media, blogs and web editing already gives you the technical skills to get started and have a nice foundation. The rest is all about honing your writing skills to suit the purpose, using your creativity to capture your audience and being spirited in making connections with people.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
Patience is key when dealing with social media as it’s easy to get impatient waiting for the likes and retweets to come flooding in. However, my impatience has activated my creativity and driven me to come up with new ways of attracting audiences online to speed up the process. Now I have a smug smile on my face when I post as the likes roll in. Like most channels, social media requires consistency and frequency, which can be hard to keep up with as my role consists of juggling college work, supporting team projects and comms work. The best way to deal with that is to embrace technology, draft content in advance, use hashtags and tags and keep them nice and neat in draft. Then you can simply click send on a rainy day. Scheduling them at particular times throughout the week helps to avoid forgetting. Your creativity won’t suffer and neither will your audience.

What is the best part of the job?
West Ham Park is my local and childhood park, so promoting its beauty, its vision, aims and achievements makes me proud of the park and makes my work even more worthwhile. Also, the weekly morning walks I take around the park to build up my choice of content as my photoshoot sessions have really helped me learn new things and really spark my imagination by experimenting with different features, angles and lighting. Better pictures equal more attention, I remind myself as I half lay on the grass for the sake of photography.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
Bees sleep. I realised that after taking a picture of a sleeping bee on a flower and thinking it was dead before its wings started twitching.

If you get an interview, do say?
Never deny your background, disability, experiences or even mistakes, because if you truly reflect, it is those very things that have contributed towards your character, skills, motivations and passions. Your story is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about at all – it makes you unique. It’s a win-win really.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
If you’ve ever had a negative experience at a previous employer or volunteer role, never badmouth a former employee. Keep your tone somewhere between neutral or positive, focusing more on what the experience has taught you. Also, it’s not nice to be salty.

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Digital marketing as an area can open up many more creative avenues for you. Throughout your apprenticeship, you will be exposed to new things that you’ll have the chance to try or learn about. You could carry on the avenue of working more with social media and websites, go down the route of graphic design (content creator), go into photography, video editing or even try something completely new if you wish.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role.

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