Review: ‘How to get a job in PR’

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How to get a job in PR by Sarah Stimson
How to get a job in PR by Sarah Stimson

Book review by Sophie Longley.

How to Get a Job in PR’ is certainly not a misleading title.

Its straight-talking career advice answers the big question on every aspiring PR pro’s mind, “how do I really get a PR job?”

As a recent graduate myself hoping to break into the world of PR, I found that there was a huge gap in the market for a careers guide aimed at PR newbies.

We were in desperate need of a careers guide that voices the opinions of not just managing directors, but also those new to the PR industry. Sarah Stimson’s ‘How to Get a Job in PR’ has certainly filled that gap.

This book tackles the age old question of how to write a cover letter amongst other topics and also highlights the important role social media plays in the job hunt. It offers career advice which has clearly moved with the times, much like PR itself.

PR has gone digital; and so has the job hunting process.

This guide is straightforward without being patronising, as it points out the small mistakes most job hunters make which could cost them the job. Things such as poor CV layout, forgetting to proof-read and of course, addressing your application to the wrong company…

Stimson recognises that job hunting in the PR industry is not a normal job hunt; graduates need to go that extra mile. We need to do more than email a couple of CVs to get our foot in the door, much like one graduate who actually sent a PR agency a shoe in a box… These humorous anecdotes combined with serious industry insights, make a winning combination.

The best way to appeal to job hunters is to provide quotes from those in the industry. I think that most career hunters, myself included, feel that the PR industry is somewhat barricaded in. We are under the impression that getting a job is all about “who you know” rather than what you know.

In some cases this is true, but this career guide manages to break down the wall between job hunter and PR agency. We are, at last, exposed to the master minds of the PR world and know exactly what they are looking for in a candidate- there can be no more invaluable advice that that!

I particularly like the chapter about the difference between internships and work experience. I leapt from my seat when I saw this chapter and tweeted Sarah a massive ‘thank you’. I have experienced confusion between the two and often PR agencies think they are the same thing!

This, alongside the chapter “What is PR?” are a must read for those who are playing with the idea of a PR career. This chapter clears up the grey areas surrounding PR sectors. I’ve made the mistake of apply for an internship in financial PR and talked a lot about consumer finance – totally different sectors, and needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

I highly recommend graduates read these sections to dispel any questions about PR sectors and whether work experience or an internship would be the right move for them. As people who are so eager to enter the PR industry, we so often don’t read the small print and forget to research– something which this career guide stresses throughout.

The best advice I have taken away from reading this guide is that job hunting is a lot like PR; those who are successful in their job search are proactive and know how to manage and create their own brand.