This month we’ve been busy celebrating our 18th birthday – if you’ve missed it, you can catch our memories timeline over on Twitter, take a look at a day in the life of Suzanne in 2001 or find out the team’s top PR and social media tips here.

As an 18-year-old business, we’re confident, we’re proud and we’ve an incredible amount of experience. As individuals however, life is very different at 18 years old; whether you’re self-assured and have a 10 year plan or you have no idea what your next step should be, life can be a little overwhelming.

Here, we’ve collated the team’s 18 top career tips for 18-year-olds (complete with a flick through our photo albums!) – what did we most want to be told at the brink of adulthood and before our working lives had truly begun?

Suzanne, former journalist and Approach’s managing director:

At 18, Suzanne was finishing her A Levels and applying for journalism college
  1. If you’re interested in PR, start creating a portfolio now. Employers want to see initiative, creativity, confidence & evidence of your capability. Start a blog, get your copy in print – better still get journalism work experience – or consider supporting a local group with their events, profiling or brand building. It’s a competitive profession so get working on your points of difference ready for that all important CV and interview
  2. Don’t put pressure on yourself to know what you want to do… despite what school, college or uni tells you. I had never heard of PR when I was 18, so certainly hadn’t planned a career in it!
  3. If PR is for you just remember it’s all about relationships. Be authentic, be passionate, be honest, stretch your comfort zones every day (because that’s how you learn and grow). Above all, enjoy it. It’s an amazing profession which gives you an insight into so many different worlds and where you can really make a difference to other people and other businesses

Finley, our junior account executive and Leeds Beckett Business Management undergraduate who’s joined Approach for his placement year

At 18, Finley had just finished his last year of sixth form and was preparing to head to Leeds Beckett University
  1. Be prepared to make mistakes. They can teach you very valuable lessons, some of the biggest mistakes can be doing simply nothing. Don’t be scared to try new things or take strategic risks, either you succeed, or you can learn something new, which you will take forward for the rest of your life
  2. Ask for help – don’t ever be scared to ask for support from colleagues, friends or family, whether it’s talking through plans or specific questions in the workplace…don’t suffer in silence! 
  3. Familiarise yourself with the interview process – having as much practise and experience is essential. Consider practicing with friends or family who can provide tips, utilise career departments at college or university who may host mock interviews and make sure you always research the company and industry you’re applying to; it shows commitment and initiative

Betty, our account executive who interned with Approach for a year while studying before joining full time:

At 18, Betty had just completed her A Levels and was heading to Leeds Beckett University to study Business
  1. Do your research! If you’re unsure about what you want to do in the future, have a look online at different industries, job roles, specifications, case studies etc to figure out what you’re most interested in
  2. Intern where you can – most jobs require some experience or indication that you’ve shown initiative when trying to gain experience. Even if it’s just one day a week for a couple of hours at a local firm or writing your own blog to demonstrate your passion and skillset
  3. Work on your CV. There’s plenty of help at schools/universities for CV support to make sure it’s the best it can be. Applying for jobs can be really competitive, so have an amazing CV makes you stand out amongst others

Shona, our PR and digital manager who founded a PR society while studying the subject at university

At 18, Shona was heading to the University of Lincoln to start her PR degree
  1. Travel while you can. Life experience is just as important as work experience and you’d be surprised how the time may help you think, gain perspective and plan accordingly. If you can take part in work schemes, that’s even better for your CV
  2. Make contacts while you’re studying! Whether this is at school, college or uni, start building up your network – meet people for coffee, thank people for their time, connect with them on professional social media outlets
  3. Listen! You’ll be surprised by how much information, knowledge and experience you can soak up by listening and paying attention to what is going on around you. You might not be able to relate to a problem or situation at the time, but I’d put money on you facing it at some point in your career – if you’ve listened to other people going through it then you’ll already have the tools and knowledge of how to deal with it… or at least where to start!

Helen, our senior account manager who knew PR was in her blood when she interned at a London PR agency on Golden Square

At 18, Helen had just started at the University of Surrey to study Sociology
  1. Read a variety of different media to gain perspective on the wider world – this may also help inspire you into causes and careers you care about
  2. If you don’t feel as confident as you’d like to, look for ways to develop this as PR particularly, is all about developing personal relationships
  3. Be pro-active on work experience. Think about what you want to get out of it and show initiative to help you take the steps to get there. In most instances, the more you ask for, the more you’ll be given which can only be valuable experience

Anisha, senior account manager who completed six work experience placements while studying before landing a job at Approach straight out of university:

At 18, Anisha had just finished her A Levels in Bradford
  1. Have fun with your CV. Keep the content professional but consider the role/industry you’re applying for and ask yourself if it shows off your skillset. If you’re a digital designer for example, there are more creative ways of demonstrating your skills rather than a simple Word document
  2. Be careful with your social media accounts – people recruiting really do check them. Make sure anything personal is private and that you’ve deleted anything that could be deemed inappropriate; this also means considering your profile photos
  3. It’s ok not to have an idea of what type of job or career you’d like to go into. Try and get work experience in your different fields of interest – I knew I never (sadly) had the skills to work as a graphic designer but was always intrigued in the industry. A couple of short placements at various agencies means I’m now better equipped when briefing or working with designers in understanding the lingo or their requirements

Anne, our office manager looks after all things admin and has been helping keep the office in check since 2001

At 18, Anne had just started working as a student nurse

 What advice would you give to an 18 year old embarking on their career search? Tweet us your best tips at @Approach_PR