Dear Dr Heather Yaxley

About the author

Heather is a key member of our assessor team. PhD, BSc, PG, RSA, CAM  


Introducing an occasional column in which Dr Heather Yaxley answers your questions about career advancement in public relations. Please submit your questions to

I am 30 something and still in a junior marcoms role. Have I left it too late to develop a PR career?

Fortunately, the idea that PR careers depend on achieving hierarchical progression does not reflect the experiences of most people. Indeed, modern careers are crafted around gaining a portfolio of experiences and competencies, often within different organisations.

Even if you have been employed in the same marcoms role for some time, it is likely that you’ve learned new skills and can demonstrate your accomplishments over time. Review your achievements to date and identify how you would like your career to develop.

If you are aiming to move into a management position, you should consider where you need to develop your capabilities and how best to do this. The CIPR Professional PR Diploma is a good option for learning about management and involves applying this knowledge through practical assignments.

What are the best sources for PR job vacancies, given the decline in print publications with recruitment advertising?

There are many excellent ways to locate PR job vacancies – and the days of hoping to spot an advert in one or two weekly print publications are fortunately long behind us.

There are numerous sites featuring online job listings (potentially including PR Place), positions are promoted through social media and most recruiters post vacancies on their own sites. In addition, you should review your online presence, as recruiters are active in looking for candidates. Finally, don’t forget the value of personal recommendations, use your professional networks and ensure that your name is top of mind if anyone asking around about potential candidates.

I want to work in the motor industry or motorsport. Is it a disadvantage to be female?

Not at all. I am a director of the professional body for motor industry communicators, MIPAA, and half of its members are female.

The industry offers placement and graduate recruitment opportunities and a strong network that is supportive in developing talented individuals regardless of gender. See:

It helps to have an interest in the area you are keen to work in, but don’t expect the work to be all F1 or supercar glamour.

Many MIPAA members are active on Twitter, so start to follow them and build relationships. MIPAA’s own Twitter account (@MIPAA) is a good place to start to identify key contacts.

Dr Heather Yaxley is a hybrid practitioner-academic-consultant-educator-author. She blogs at Greenbana and is @greenbanana on Twitter.