Lorelei Campbell has worked for over 15 years in the public relations industry, both in Australia and overseas. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Public Relations & Marketing) and a Masters of Public Relations from Curtin University.
In recent year’s Lorelei has been the Director of Soapbox PR and just recently opened her new consultancy, Hola PR. Here, she answers our questions and gives some great advice on improving your employability and applying for your first professional role.
As an employer, what skills and attributes do you value in graduates? Is there anything extra students can be doing to help them prepare for finding employment in their field?
During the last four years of owning my own firm, I received dozens of enquiries every month from graduates seeking employment. Sometimes certain applications stand out – some for the right reasons, but also, sometimes for the wrong reasons!
So what makes a graduate stand out to me?
- First and foremost, someone who is keen to learn and loves the industry. Passion for a job is definitely something you can see. PR is a tough gig and often equals long hours so it’s important to know someone really wants it as a career. A good graduate also recognises that they have learnt some skills during their degree but also knows there’s a lot more to learn.
- Someone who has taken the time, throughout their degree, to go above and beyond and has some work experience under their belt.
- Excellent writing skills. Writing is so important in many entry level positions. So for students, make sure you get some experience writing various materials whilst at university. Volunteer your services to a charity group, local organisation – anything to build up that bank of writing samples. Include examples for various mediums – media releases, newsletters, blogs, social media etc.
Do you have any resume writing tips for PR students?
Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons – make sure you proof read everything!
Also, don’t use generic cover letters or emails for every application you make. Take the time to look at the company you are applying to and their clients (if a consultancy). Understand what they do and their approach and tailor your introductory letter or email to suit. Keep your resume short and to the point and focus on results and achievements, not just a list of duties – particularly for work experience. If you can, provide some good work examples or a link to an online portfolio. And finally, don’t forget many future employers will check out your online presence, so think about what your Facebook profile picture might look like and any public social media presence you have (particularly LinkedIn).
What advice would you give to upcoming graduates looking to secure their first professional PR related role?
- Don’t get disheartened, there will be a job for you out there. But don’t wait until the end of your degree to start thinking about it either.
- Make sure you get some volunteer experience whilst you are at uni, even basic office experience goes a long way!
- Don’t just search for jobs traditionally. Approach the agencies and organisations you’d love to work for – you never know, you might make that email or call at just the right time!