It must be tough being a grad looking for work. On a day when the UK officially entered back into recession, I was invited to attend a session to speak on how to get into PR.
The panel included a broad spectrum of people from different backgrounds and was organised by Ignite – a firm dedicated to promoting cultural diversity within PR.
A few things stood out for me:
1) Getting a job through the grad process isn’t easy. When you’re competing against 1000 applicants you have to be amazing to stand out
2) Although employers love to see confidence in a potential recruit, it ain’t easy being confident as a grad when you have no experience about anything
3) Networking should be taught as part of a PR degree. I spoke to a few attendees but not one asked for my business card nor had one when I asked
4) Although the event was about getting people from diverse backgrounds into PR, I genuinely think that in this day and age getting a job is more about your attitude than where you come from.
5) With the 24 hour access to information about anything and everything, there really is no excuse for grads not to have a basic understanding of an industry sector or news agenda.
All in all it was an enjoyable event. Just a shame we got turfed out of the bar early. Then again on a school night that was probably for the best.
One of the benefits of social media is that it has forced marketers to focus more on building and nurturing communities rather than the spray and pray, one size fits one model that has defined the industry for decades.
But how much of a role does diversity play when it comes to really understanding the different communities marketers seek to engage with? And what how much should search marketers get to know or exploit colloquiums when optimising keywords?
Search is a particularly hot topic for PR professionals now. Perhaps not quite as sexy as social media but many in the industry are starting to realise that search is very much interlinked (excuse the pun) with its more glamourous cousin in helping a marketing campaign meet its objectives. They might be late to the party but PR pros are starting to wake to the importance search engines play in communicating a message. While they might not have the technical skills of SEO marketers, PR brings a certain advantage when it comes to relationship building but also in the form of keyword research and understanding what audiences are actually looking for when they ‘Google’ something.
Added to this is the rise in social search. This is where recommendations from your friends show up in your search results. You type ‘football boots’ into Google and within the search results that come back you’re alerted to the fact that your brother-in-law who had a trial at the Emirates recently ‘liked’ the latest Nike boots on Facebook. As a consumer, you want to know personal recommendations before making buying decisions. And as a marketer, you can finally get some of the coveted ROI that your finance director has been hounding you for.
As a web evolves to fit around our lives having a social elements to marketing campaigns will become the rule rather than the exception. Having a diverse campaign team that is not only able to tap into local lingo and jargon but is also astute enough to spot and capitalise on opportunities in the mainstream media that drive search trends is worth its weight in gold.