Advertising and Public Relations are fast-paced and dynamic fields with a lot of room for creativity. Advertising involves pitching a brand or product and persuading consumers to purchase it, while PR aims to generate publicity and awareness for a client, brand or company.
Both fields are highly competitive, and graduates wanting to pursue a career in Advertising or Public Relations need to be prepared to put in a lot work to get a foot in the door. It is highly advised that candidates undertake work placements and internships in order to gain experience in the field.
How to Get a Job in Advertising
Advertising centres predominantly around developing ad campaigns to put a product or company ahead of their rivals. Advertisers need to be persuasive and know how to get their ideas heard.
Graduates pursuing a career in Advertising should display the following:
The competition is so fierce in the field that previous Advertising experience is almost essential. Graduates should aim to earn experience on an internship or placement, or show initiative to find their own work experience.
2. Strong portfolio
A strong portfolio can go a long way towards getting a candidate noticed. It should be filled with an applicant's best and most impressive work. If applying for a creative position, candidates should make sure their portfolio showcases some unique and innovative ideas. It is also a good idea to include work done outside of university, as this shows real-world experience and commitment to the field. Graduates who have been unable to secure an internship or work placement may want to consider developing an ad campaign for an existing product or local organisation to bulk up their portfolio.
3. Communication skills
Advertising is a communications business. Whether it be interdepartmental communication or pitching to clients, Advertisers need to be able to make effective and engaging presentations. Candidates should be prepared to provide examples of their communication and presentation skills, and demonstrate that they are confident pitching ideas and concepts.
4. Trend and market awareness
Advertisers design campaigns to generate interest in a product, service or company. Candidates for positions in Advertising should demonstrate an ability to quickly pick up on market trends and make connections between sales figures and consumer behaviour. It is important that graduates can demonstrate Commercial Awareness.
5. An understanding of human behaviour
Ad campaigns must get the attention and interest of the target demographic; the best Advertisers can predict what will draw consumers and why. A background in a field such as Psychology would be beneficial for candidates if they can show an ability to apply their understanding of human behaviour to marketing strategies.
6. Research and analysis skills
Advertising requires both research and analysis in order to understand audience moods, buying patterns and trends across different demographics. These skills are particularly relevant to Account Planning. Graduates should draw on their time spent at university in order to provide examples of their research and analytical capabilities.
7. Enthusiasm and individualism
In such a competitive field, candidates need to go the extra mile to get their application to stand out. Graduates should use their application and supporting materials to advertise themselves to prospective employers.
How Get a Job in Public Relations
Public Relations manages the public perception of a company, product or brand through press releases, advertising, events and much more. PR can be done in-house or by a hired company.
Candidates wanting to work in Public Relations should display the following:
Work experience and internships are vital to succeeding in Public Relations. The more a candidate can prove their grasp of PR in the work place, the more likely they will be to secure a position.
Graduates who are not able to get a work placement may want to consider launching their own PR project - perhaps to build buzz around campus about a society or a local business. The enthusiasm and drive necessary to see such a project through would provide excellent experience, as well as materials for a portfolio.
2. Flawless portfolio
Public Relations involves many different approaches, and candidates must be able to provide evidence of their grasp of PR's different facets. An ideal portfolio will include press releases, publicity and statistics from events, responses from attendees, newspaper features and clippings, as well as analytics and samples from social media. Graduates should try to get as involved as possible in local events, and document their experience in their portfolio. Digital and online portfolios are increasingly common, and easy to share with prospective employers.
3. Excellent communication skills
Like Advertising, the very nature of PR centres around communication. Candidates must have excellent verbal skills to liaise with clients and the public, and strong written communication in order to handle press releases and promotional briefs. Networking is key, as much of PR relies on building an extensive contact list. Candidates should be able to quickly make a positive impression on prospective employers, and demonstrate an innate confidence and ease around people.
4. Organisational skills
Public Relations often involves organising events, coordinating with locations and vendors, managing the public and securing licenses and permits. Candidates must have strong organisational skills in order to ensure that everything gets done to the client's specifications. Graduates can use university experience to demonstrate their ability to multi-task and manage their time while following through on project requirements.