Why PR graduate jobs can feel like an extreme sport
Imagine, for the last three years you’ve been working hard at university to achieve a good undergraduate degree, attending seminars and lectures and working through the night to finish essays and dissertations in time. You’ve learnt so much and you’re ready now to take your knowledge, qualifications and hardworking attitude into a Public Relations workplace. Some graduates can find the transition pretty daunting and often nothing like anything they’ve experienced at university, in fact it can feel like some stomach-churning, high-speed, free-falling, extreme sport. Here’s our guide to entry-level PR jobs to help graduates feel more secure and safe in their first months. Jump, count to ten and then pull the cord.
The thought of that first day in your new PR role is likely to produce a few nerves at least. The equivalent of this in the world of extreme sports is the plane starting its engine on a windswept runway in Lincolnshire, while you sit in your helmet, goggles and parachute pack trying to look as calm and confident as possible. Remember, you’re not alone in feeling nervous; every newbie onboard is thinking they should have packed a second jumpsuit.
Whether you’re starting as an intern or a junior member of the PR team, your first task is going to be a warmer to test your approach and get a feel for what you are capable of and where you might need some further instruction. Your first task is likely to be a press release.
Ever heard of slacklining? Slacklining is a terrifying extreme sport in which participants walk a slack, nylon line anchored at two points – like a tightrope… only slack. To begin with slackliners will learn the art on a line a foot or so off the ground, eventually working up to higher lines, some hundreds of feet in the air. Successful slacklining requires a cool head, balance and concentration, but newbies don’t start with a line over a canyon – they work up to it. Your first press release requires the same concentration and focus; think about audience and tone and don’t waffle, but, equally, don’t stall at the thought of the long drop and the consequences of failing – you’re the new kid and those around you know you have a lot to learn.
Controlling a parachute is difficult, potentially dangerous and takes real practice and skill – much like handling PR clients. All PR graduate jobs will involve a steady accumulation of these vital client-handling skills. Listen to your instructors carefully in your first months and remind yourself frequently throughout your career how important clients are and how you can best serve them.
Whatever your first PR position is, accept you have things to learn and try not to think of the drop or the speed or the fire. Keep your head, learn from those who know and enjoy the ride.
Tom Walker is a Freelance Copywriter producing articles on PR graduate opportunities for PR Week.