Six lessons from a “recent-ish” PR graduate

I was delighted to present at the annual Communications Conference run by the DIT PRPA Society recently. The title of my presentation was,”Lessons from a recent-ish MAPR graduate”. As someone who graduated from the MA in PR in 2010 it gave me a good chance to take stock of some of the tips and tricks I have picked since I graduated. Well done to the organisers of the event who I am sure have a bright PR future ahead of them, I was particularly impressed with the high turnout for a Friday afternoon!

Standing out

  • Do what you can to differentiate yourself, there’s lots like you who are hungry for that first job out of college.
  • ALWAYS adapt your CV and cover letter to suit the job. Get creative with how you apply for jobs.
  • Volunteer, round out your CV. Get involved with different organisations or projects.


  • This will always be one of the most crucial skills for PRs.
  • Write all the time. Hone your craft. Blog. Contribute to other outlets where you feel you can offer an insight or opinion.
  • In the ideal world you want what appears in print/online etc. about your client to be as close as possible to your release. Make the job easier by always writing with the journalists in mind.
  • Avoid stupid grammatical and spelling errors.

Knowing your channels

  • Read, watch, listen as much as you can.
  • Pick up random magazines, go to random websites you usually wouldn’t. You never know where inspiration for a pitch will come from.
  • Never pitch somewhere without doing your research on the recipient. There is no quicker way to annoy media.
  • Never rely on someone else’s media list without checking all the recipients first.


  • Network as much as you can, you never know where your next client could come from!
  • Online is a great way of networking. More and more relationships are built and nurtured online.
  • Don’t forget about the “real world” though. Get to as many events as you can that fit with the work you want to pursue.

Understanding Business

  • Remember everything you do has a business objective.
  • Get a feel for the hours you work on different clients, try and be productive with your time.
  • Be humble. Remember, what some might consider “wishy-washy” is designed to fulfil some business objective.
  • Treat all those you deal with professionally at all times.
  • Don’t devalue yourself or the work you have put into getting your education by working for free.

Always Be Learning

  • The more you know about everything the better.
  • You never know when that blog post you read on that obscure topic might come in handy.
  • Try to learn about people in advance before meeting them.
  • Try to make yourself an expert on a topic where your organisation lacks that expertise e.g. Snapchat, Internal Comms, Photoshop.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn from colleagues, friends, clients, online and anywhere else you can.

These are just my own thoughts based on my own experience. If you have any advice for young communications graduates please share them.

The full presentation is here: