It’s that time of year when we’re starting to see a lot of student requests for work experience – be it GCSE pupils exploring their options or A Level or university students wanting to dip their toes in the world of working. The influx of eager faces and carefully considered CVs got us thinking – what are five things you should be doing now if you want to work in communications?
Everyone knows getting experience in the real world is top of the list, but is there anything else that helps you stand out from the crowd?
- Sort out your social media
Once your prospective employer has digested your cover letter, read through your CV and compared you to 13 other candidates, you can bet pretty much anything their next port of call will be social media.
Check your Facebook account is private, keep your Twitter clean and create a LinkedIn profile to show you’re serious.
Of course, these are very broad suggestions. Consider having a professional and a private Twitter account if needed, and if visual content is your game, shout about your Instagram or Pinterest following.
- Get a wide range of experience
We’ve ticked off work experience as top of the list, but remember it’s vital you show your versatility too. While having a couple of weeks’ at a PR agency under your belt is great, don’t underestimate all the add-ons which can help you stand out.
Speak to your fellow students or surrounding community to see if you can support in filming videos or managing social media accounts. Ask a large local company if you can shadow the marketing manager to better understand how to run campaigns from an in-house perspective.
Even better, go to the Other Side. Little is more valuable to a prospective PR and communications professional than working in a busy newsroom – what do journalists like? How can PR help them?
- Write and then write some more
No matter the form of communication you’d like to focus on (social, video, digital, print, PR, advertising, marketing…the list goes on), writing quality copy will be a huge part of a career in communications.
It’s surprising how often those who aim for a future career in social media find it difficult to construct well-written posts targeting the correct audience.
So practice! Blogging is a great way of easily demonstrating your copywriting skills to an audience – you don’t have to start a blog with the intention of growing a huge following, just think of it as an online portfolio, shareable with any prospective employers in the form of a quick link.
- Communicate! (But don’t stalk)
With the magic of Twitter and the beauty of Instagram it’s easier than ever to communicate with the agency of your dreams.
Have they posted an Instagram shot of amazing coverage? Double tap. Have they tweeted an award win? Send a congratulatory message. Did you watch the managing director deliver an inspiring speech at a recent event? Shout about it (maybe even write about it?!)
You might think all of the above would go unnoticed but when that familiar name pops up in an inbox with a nod to previous communication, you’d be surprised how much it stands out.
- Prove you’re a multi-tasker
It’s so easy to add multi-tasking as an all-important skill on your CV, but back it up with proof and you’ll be one step closer to your dream role.
Show your commitment, passion and multi-tasking capability by maintaining a blog alongside working or studying full time, demonstrate working on separate, successful projects simultaneously, even consider a couple of part-time work experience opportunities at the same time.
Remember, just saying you’ve always wanted to work in the communications industry simply isn’t enough anymore. Prove your commitment and demonstrate your skills to ensure your application shines.