Babel’s guide for landing a job in PR
As you can imagine, we were inundated with application forms for our graduate scheme this year, so we just wanted to say thank you to all those who took the time and effort to apply. As someone who graduated only two years ago, I know too well how stressful and time consuming writing job applications whilst juggling dissertation deadlines can be.
We’ve learnt a lot ourselves through the whole application process and wanted to share some of this knowledge with you in the form of our top tips of advice for writing application forms. We hope it comes in handy and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our future graduate schemes.
Babel’s advice for graduate scheme applications
DO personalise your application. Could your opening section have been written about any candidate for any PR company? If so, then that’s the wrong angle to take. Look on the company’s website, read about the team members and find out exactly what they’re looking for. The candidates who shone during the initial screening process were those who talked about what they particularly admired about Babel and why they would be a good fit.
DO think about the specialisms of the company you’re applying to. Babel PR is a technology, media and telecoms specialist, mainly operating in the B2B sector. Those candidates who showed a passion for technology throughout their application – for example choosing a technology PR campaign to discuss, or a science or technology photograph – really stood out. Bonus points for showing commercial awareness and PR and social media nous throughout too. Did your picture go viral? Was it part of an iconic campaign? Use the opportunities to showcase your knowledge.
DO provide detail in your CV. Do include a summary paragraph at the top of your CV including key work experience and academic achievements. In addition, remember to include which A-Level and GCSE grades you achieved (we asked for GCSE English A grade). If you write your own blog or are a regular user of Twitter, provide a link. If you’ve listed music, running or sports as a hobby, have you any personal achievements in this area? What do you read, e.g. Sci-Fi? But don’t go overboard. Two pages is plenty! Use the layout wisely.
DO demonstrate personality and passion. What have you done that’s interesting? E.g. a solo trip to China with no prior knowledge of the language. Do you have any quirky interests or hobbies? Why do you stand out? What are your defining moments?
DON’T use clichés. What words would your best friend use to describe you? Do you have specific examples to back up your claims? E.g. “I’ve showed my hard work and determination through running the London Marathon in my goal time of 4 and a half hours, raising £3000 for Great Ormond Street.” If asked for examples, choose carefully – while Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign certainly created waves, discussing a more unusual campaign will help you stand out.
DO proof read your application (or better, get an impartial friend to do so). Make sure there are no typos or font inconsistencies. Don’t make basic grammatical mistakes – know the difference between its (possessive) and it’s (it is). Read The Economist or Times style guides for pointers.
DO include a covering note in the body of the email and try to find out who you should address it to. It clearly stated on our website that I would be looking after the application process, but the applications addressed to myself were limited. If you’re ever unsure a simple phone call or email could help you with this.
DO read the questions. Make sure you talk about PR rather than advertising campaigns for example – the two industries are very different, don’t get them confused.