So you wanna work in Marketing or PR…?

Last Monday QM Careers hosted their annual Marketing and PR Panel discussion. Members of the panel ranged from a variety of firms within the field, including representatives from Ketchum Pleon (PR communications agency), the V&A Museum of Childhood (Marketing and PR) and Kantar Worldpanel (consumer insight company). The panel welcomed a wave of insightful questions raised by QM students.

So you think it’s for you, but what type of person did our panel of experts think would make it in the harsh yet rewarding world of Marketing and PR?

• Shy? Reserved? Scared to voice your opinions? NEXT!!! Now this doesn’t mean you have to be bossy, loud and overbearing. Blowing out the candles of others so yours shines brighter comes across as arrogant. But being too modest or quiet may make the interviewer think you’re unsure of yourself and consequently unsure of the job.

• Appreciate social media. Use it, immerse yourself in it. Understanding how a totally innovative platform, unavailable just 10 years ago, can be used in Marketing and PR is essential for anyone looking to go into this profession. Knowing about the world around you is the mark of a good PR or Marketing person and social media is an amazing way to achieve this. If you are still yet to set up that twitter account, do it now! (even if you don’t want to tweet about what you had for breakfast this morning).

• Don’t sit back and expect to take take take. A lazy “what can you do for me?” attitude from graduates is off-putting. Instead ask “what can I do for you?” Whether it’s making a cup of tea or making some phone calls, give it your all. Yes of course you want to be more involved, you want more responsibility, you want your creativity to really shine through, but we all have to start at the bottom. Get stuck into whatever you’ve been given. If they see that you can commit yourself to ANY task and do it well, you’ll prove yourself as a reliable and positive member of the company. As a trusted employee, increased responsibility will soon come your way. Remember no one ever choked to death from swallowing their pride.

• A degree in PR or Marketing is great but not essential to get into this field. Members of the panel were graduates from a mixture of degrees, including English, Economics and even Music!! Showing passion, interest and competence are fundamental.

So now you’re certain that this is the career for you but how can you stand out from the crowd?

• Experience. Experience. Experience. Universities are a great place to try out something new and gain some new skills so get involved!! Whether organising events, becoming a student ambassador or writing for the university paper, take part. Organisational, management and writing skills are key for any branch within Marketing and PR, so don’t wait for the opportunity to fall into your lap. Seek it out!

• Spend time on the cover letter. There is no point in having a CV that you laboriously laboured over for days accompanied with a covering letter that you barely spent half an hour on. Believe it or not they are equally important. Most employers will just skim over the first couple of sentences. If they don’t like it they won’t even look at your CV! So make it good and as obvious as it sounds check for spelling and grammar errors, especially if you later boast about your amazing writing skills.

• Tailor make your cover letter. Employers can tell if you’ve sent out a cover letter so generic that twenty other firms have received the exact same one. Do your homework! Know the company but don’t regurgitate information from their website. They already know who they are. Instead explain how you would fit into their company; convince them why theirs is the only company you want to work for, even if it’s not entirely true. Well you have to keep your options open.

Shakira Browne
QM Linguistics Student

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