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Do you have what it takes to impress us?

Times have been tough for graduates in recent years, with many reporting how difficult it’s been to secure work experience in an economy that has pulled back on outgoings and any unnecessary resources.

However, on the flip slide you could argue that businesses have been looking for fresh talent in order to ‘grow their own’ instead of paying high salaries to new recruits with years of experience.

Either way, opportunities have always been out there for graduates with the right attitude and work ethic to make their mark on their chosen industry, but at Refresh PR we’re finding that so many are falling at the first hurdle for a number of reasons.

So, in the interest of guiding potential PR graduates who may be looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, we’ve created a simple guide to help aid the process…

1.       Make a good first impression: you’d be surprised how many people who want to work in the world of words can’t structure an email correctly. Please don’t use three different fonts and colours – we can spot a cut and paste job a mile off!

2.       Know who you’re speaking to: again, it’s startling how many emails we receive addressed to other PR agencies. Nearly every company these days has a website, so there’s no excuse not to do your research beforehand. The personal touch can go a long way

3.       Be flexible: if you’re offered an interview, try and be prompt with your response and be as accommodating as possible

4.       Don’t fluff up your CV: we’re all guilty of exaggerating a few points on our CVs, but you will be asked questions in an interview about your experience so it’s important that you can back it up. Remember, we work in PR so we’re good at reading between the lines :)

5.       Grammar, grammar, grammar: it’s likely we’ll ask you to complete a quick writing task so ensure you’re up the job and know your commas from your semi-colons

See, it’s not too difficult to impress, you just need to think about the process, be friendly and have a great work ethic!

If you think you’re up for the challenge, please email me your CV along with a covering email to:

Please note, the role on offer is a work experience placement, not a full-time role.

Tagged with: Graduates, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations

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The Facebook Generation

In the week where Facebook gained its one billionth user and subsequently cemented both itself and creator Mark Zuckerberg in the history books, I was creating a new profile of my own as a Junior Account Executive at Refresh PR.

Having graduated from the University of Salford in July of this year, I had spent the last few months tirelessly applying for jobs and seeking working experience opportunities in what is a highly competitive market, thanks to the recession and the rise in youth unemployment.

Many people are beginning to question whether a university education is worthwhile following the recent hike in tuition fees and given that only a handful of my friends have gone on to find full time work in their chosen sector after completing university, who could blame them?  However for anyone who needs reminding of the importance of a university education they need look no further than Facebook itself for inspiration.

In the 2010 film The Social Network, a movie adaptation of the ‘Facebook Story’, we discover that the foundations of Facebook were created whilst Zuckerberg was studying at Harvard University.

The link between Zuckerberg’s success and a university education isn’t merely coincidental. Well, at least I don’t think so.

University gives you the opportunity to further your knowledge and gain a greater understanding about what really interests you. It gives you the foundations to be able to pursue a career in something that you grow to feel passionate about. Nevertheless it is important to point out that graduating from university does not automatically give you the right to a job or success.

Instead , rather more importantly, it is the friendships that we form and the connections that we make that ultimately influence our futures, especially for those who choose to study any of the creative industries.

If I were to give any advice to someone looking to break into Public Relations (in fact this is advice that works for most industries) I would firstly recommend studying a degree that encourages you to take a placement year where you can gain valuable experience from working within the industry.

However if, like me, you weren’t informed to make that decision I would urge you to make the most of every opportunity. When your lecturers tell you that work experience and making ‘contacts’ is important, they aren’t lying.  Whether that be taking advantage of networking events, promoting yourself via social media or creating a good reputation for yourself as a result of a work experience placement, it is all about using your initiative and being confident in your own abilities to make those opportunities really count.

As much as I would like to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, who was a billionaire by the age of twenty-three I must add, the reality is that being successful on that scale only happens for a handful of us...

It does of course depend on what you qualify as being a success. Twelve months ago I would have jumped at the chance to work for a PR Agency that has been shortlisted for CIPR North West’s Outstanding Small Consultancy 2012 and look what happened!

Cue Facebook status update.

Why not check out Refresh PR on Facebook here:

Tagged with: CIPR , Facebook, Graduates, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, The Social Network, University, University of Salford, Work Experience, Youth Unemployment