How to start a career in PR & Marketing

My tips for getting a job in PR or marketing

With more and more people wanting a career in marketing, the competition is fiercely high! But with hundreds of applicants applying for each job post, how do you go about making your CV stand out?

Well it’s not easy! It took me three solid months of interviewing (I think I had about seven) before an employer was willing to give me a chance. But two years since graduating from The University of Sunderland and just one year after graduating from the University of Leeds, i’m pretty happy with the direction my career is heading.

My marketing career so far

In September 2017, roughly two hours after handing in my masters dissertation in, I nabbed myself a role as a Marketing Assistant at designer ladies wear shop in Sheffield. I ultimately wanted to stay in Leeds, but with huge competition from other graduates and no real digital experience other than my own blog and social media channels, I began to realise how I may have to make personal sacrifices at this early point in my career.

After completing work experience whilst studying for my degrees, I realised I ultimately wanted a role within a marketing agency setting. However, luckily this time, I found it easier to get a job while already having a job. In October 2017, I began working for a relatively new digital marketing agency. It was here I learnt more about SEO, PPC and social media marketing. I even gained a Google Awards Certification!

In August 2018, I got my latest role as a Outreach SEO & PR Specialist at an agency in Leeds. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know i’m ALWAYS posting PR and outreach campaigns. So if you’re a blogger please reach out and get involved! Or if you’re interested in a career in PR or marketing, please read on to discover my tips on getting into the industry…

lucy bolland at the university of sunderland

lucy bolland at the university of sunderland

Work experience

The best way for someone with no marketing experience to bag a job in marketing or PR is work experience! I did two work placements during uni, but I really wish i’d have done a lot more! It’s a chance to network, to impress and to really start working on those different marketing skills.

Get your writing skills up to scratch

Your CV, blog and portfolio is a huge reflection on your abilities. If your blog is full of grammatical errors and you reckon no one will notice or care, you’re wrong! Employers do their background checks. And with PR and marketing often being heavily content based when you start out, employers want to know that you can write!

Start a blog

Wanting to bag a job in marketing but have no relevant qualification or degree? Well this points sort of a biggy! Starting and running a blog shows employers you can use a website CMS, do basic SEO and can write. Often us bloggers are fairly good at social too. So you’ll be able to talk about how yours skills apply to careers in digital marketing and social media marketing.

Handling the marketing recruitment process

I’ve been lucky enough to have sat on quite a few interview panels now. So I’ve discovered from an employers point of view, exactly what and what not to do in an interview.

Firstly, you’ve got to do your interview prep! Who are the directors? Who are the clients? What services do they provide? You really need to know all this before you set through that door. Also never lie! If you don’t know something, just admit it. Employers will respect your honesty!

Next you’ve got to look the part! Unless you work in the corporate world, most agency settings are pretty casual. But still avoid anything unironed, revealing or too casual. Trainers are fine unless you’re seeing a client that day. But that doesn’t mean you should be wearing your gazelles to an interview!

Next, talk a whole load about your blog if you have one. Know the basics of SEO? Let the interview panel know! Talk about your content creation, drop some big name collaborations. They’ll be super impressed, I promise you.

lucy bolland at the university of sunderland

*This is not a sponsored post, but all images are owned by The University of Sunderland.

Advice from Jo Murricane, marketer and blogger:

Choose your passion: You’ve got to love what you do. If you love marketing, think about which aspect of it excites you most. What are you best at? Decide exactly what you want to do and you’ll have much more focus.

Experience: Learn as much as you can and practice as much as you can. I wanted to create content, so I started my personal blog long before I went freelance. This meant I could improve my skills, whilst also building an online portfolio. I also brought writing into the project management job I had; I helped people create and improve their content, I went on training courses, I read more – I honed my craft.

Get to know people: Leeds has a great Twitter scene, which is a brilliant way to get to know local people and share content. I met lots of people that I’ve since ended up working with. Be interesting, but more importantly, be interested in other people. Ask questions, learn from them, and keep your communications genuine.

Get involved: If someone needs support on a small, time-limited marketing project – do it. The more experience you get, the better. If there are events going on locally, or talks / seminars, go along and meet the people in the field you want to work in. Meeting people is the best way to build your network and get your name out there.

More advice from other bloggers with day jobs in marketing:

Glasses Girl: “I got into marketing by doing a cross-agency graduate scheme so I worked across all areas before specialising, would definitely recommend”.
Life of Emma: “I got into marketing through a business management degree and work experience in a marketing agency.”
Callmeliz: “Experience is key, I have a degree in fashion marketing but it still took me 6 months to get my first job in marketing then I have worked my way up since. I would say try and do as much freelance work and paid internships as possible to build up your portfolio”.

Wrapping it up

My advice to anyone just starting out or wanting a career in PR or marketing, is to just be completely open to every new opportunity and experience. Your first few roles are often not your dream roles, but you’ll learn a lot. And learning as much as possible in your early career, is really the best thing you can do!

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