How to kickstart a career in PR
Are you thinking of working in PR in Ireland? If so, YM have put together a handy “How to” guide on getting in to the Irish PR industry, for your reading pleasure. The Irish job landscape seems to be on the rise (whisper, we don’t want to frighten it) so whether you’re considering breaking in, shifting gears or getting on the career ladder, here come our top tips.
There are numerous, however not exhaustive, education options for aspiring PR grads around Ireland.A couple of smaller colleges including the European Institute of Communication (EIC) and Fitzwilliam Institute offer diplomas and certificates in PR. Prices vary, depending on the college, so keep an eye on that! Both establishments have excellent reputations and offer a varied, fun approach to learning, so scope out which approach appeals to you the most before jumping in. Most people who take these courses will have completed a foundation degree first and normally in something that compliments PR e.g. journalism, business etc.
For those coming straight from school, Dundalk IT offer a BA in Public Relations which is an in-depth four year programme. Alternatively, completing a foundation degree in something like journalism in Griffith or business in IADT are good options before moving on to Fitzwilliam or EIC. Also, DIT do a one year MA in PR, which has produced some amazing graduates over the years.
Many people now jump straight in to a job after college and then come to realise that it’s not a great fit for them and decide to shift in to a new area. If moving in to PR is the choice for you, then there are some easy ways to do this. The EIC and Fitzwilliam both offer part-time / distance learning courses so you can get a qualification while continuing to work.
A good idea for those considering the move is to check out the PRII’s website for more info about working in PR in Ireland. The PRII is the official industry body and they have a treasure trove of info on their website about the industry. They’re also a lovely bunch of people so if you give them a call they can offer some sage wisdom. The PRII offer very specialised courses so are a constant source of information for progressing professionals.
Regardless of what course you pursue, you will almost definitely have to intern to get in the door, accepting this reality is the first step to success. Interning has become quite popular across many sectors in the past few years, however it has always been a reality in PR. The industry can be quite intense and there are simply some things that cannot be learned in a classroom. Additionally, it’s a great way to see if the industry is a good fit for you.
There is a possibility that you could get a role without interning, if for example you have a few years’ experience in a complimentary industry such as journalism, marketing or digital media. However, those jobs can be few and far between and you will have to beat out some stiff competition for the role. Either way, interning can be a great experience if you get in to the right environment and work very hard, you can read more about our tips on being a super intern here. Additionally, a lot of PR’s will tell you that they got their first job out of an internship, which is encouraging.
Finding an internship can be relatively easy, many PR companies will advertise these positions on their website or you can hit up #internfairy on Twitter. You could also get in touch with your preferred agency directly to see if they have any capacity. This can be a good approach, especially if you need to do a part-time internship to accommodate your paid job while you work up some experience. Additionally EIC have a job listings page which frequently has intern opportunities on there.
Finding a job
You’re educated, interned up to your eyeballs and are now ready to find a full time job in PR. There are many ways to go about this like job hunting in any industry, so searching the likes of IrishJobs.ie or Jobs.ie may produce some options. However hitting the PRII job listings page is a great way to find industry specific roles. Also, if you have a particular agency you’re interested in, there is a whole list of agencies and their contact details on the PRCA website, to reach out to people directly.
Some hacks for finding a PR job listing are getting in touch with agencies like Alternatives or Prosperity who specialise in communications / marketing jobs. Some friendly industry peeps like Martyn Rosney, post jobs on their personal websites. You should also remember to regularly check #jobfairy on Twitter as you will frequently see PR roles on there, after all PR’s do love Twitter!
As with any industry when job hunting, perseverance is key. You shouldn’t feel afraid to be forward when applying for positions, however don’t be presumptuous or entitled. A big component of working in PR is being able to sell, so be sure to really showcase yourself in all of your amazingness.