How to get your first job in PR and social media

How brands communicate with their customers and where we get our news from has changed massively over the past few years. Public relations (PR) and social media today is more important than ever in helping brands manage their reputation and get their message across clearly to the people who matter.  

It’s an exciting and rewarding job, and one that many people are drawn to. This makes PR an extremely competitive field to get started in, so you’ll need to be highly capable, a real people person and have solid social skills to succeed.

Here are a few of our best tips to help you get started in PR and social media.

Be confident

You’ll be working with a wide range of people and personalities, so you’ll need to be calm under pressure and know how to project confidence in any situation. Whether that’s picking up the phone, presenting to a room full of people or talking through an idea in person, it’s important to be positive and self-assured no matter what the day throws at you.

Know how to get things done

Working in PR, you’ll be responsible for juggling a number of different clients and tasks all at once. Tight deadlines, a constantly changing media landscape and the fast paced nature of the job, means your finger needs to be firmly on the pulse at all times. To keep a grip on your sanity, you’ll need to know how to effectively prioritise your time, be incredibly organised and able to switch between different tasks at a moment's notice.

Try it out

Try contacting agencies for work experience, an internship or even a coffee to find out more. Experience really helps you show potential employers your knowledge and understanding of PR and social media. Having spent even a little time working in the industry helps show you know what’s expected and give examples of how you can immediately make a difference. 

Develop your writing skills

Strong written skills and attention to detail are essential if you’re looking to build a career in PR. Understanding how to use the written word to craft different styles and tones is an important skill to master, and one that requires practice, so start now. Having this nailed will allow you to create copy that best reflects each client, their unique personality and the message they are trying to get across.  

Watch the detail

When applying for roles, check and double check to make sure your covering letter and CV are perfect - typos just aren’t acceptable!

Work on your digital skills

When you’re starting out, a great way to gain experience is to start a personal blog. Choose a topic you’re passionate about and really immerse yourself within the community.  

This can help to develop your creativity and written skills, as well as a solid understanding of social media. It’s also a good way to pick up experience of SEO, email marketing, online advertising and influencer marketing, which can all give you a huge advantage when applying for jobs.

A few more things to keep in mind

  • Research the industry and which area of PR you’d feel most at home in. Are you more B2B or B2C? Do you know the difference between consumer and trade press?
  • Learn how to build good relationships.
  • Be a real people person, or learn how to be.
  • Work on your telephone manner.
  • Get some experience, to show you can handle the high-pressure environment.