February 24, 2015, by Jackie Thompson
Five Tips for a Career in Communications
By Clare Stafford, Senior Public Relations Manager at Boots
I can’t actually believe it’s been 20 years since I started university, where has the time gone? I also can’t believe that I’m now one of those people who is asked to give career talks, so being asked for my thoughts on starting out on a career in communications was quite daunting, but here goes…
1. Be flexible
Graduate schemes aren’t the only way to get the career you want. If you find an industry or business you want to work for, be flexible about the type of roles you look at, work hard, make sure others notice the work you’re doing and your ambitions and a career will follow.
2. Know your strengths
Be honest with yourself; when are you at your best in a working environment, what are you doing, how are you behaving, how does it feel? Understanding what you’re really good at and what motivates you helps you find the right job for you. I love the adrenaline shot of a deadline so public relations (PR) was a great choice for me, as journalists always keep you on your toes (especially at 5pm on a Friday night!).
3. Be curious
Find out all you can about your chosen profession, get work experience, and if you’re looking for a communications career, show your skills off. Volunteer to do PR for local events and be able to talk about the outcomes you achieved for the event. My first taste of PR was probably at school as part of Young Enterprise. While the frankly terrible T-shirts we were selling are best forgotten, the buzz of getting the local newspaper to feature our business stayed with me for a long time.
4. Be social
Digital and social media skills are what many communications teams are looking for. Stand out from the crowd by demonstrating your skills. Go above and beyond your peers, set up a blog, grow a follower base, and be able to talk about social media strategy and campaigns with insight.
5. Build your network
Actively keep in contact with people you meet at work at all levels, they may be able to offer you advice in the future or mentor you. I have met and worked with many inspiring people and their guidance has been invaluable. Don’t be afraid of asking if people will meet you for a coffee to discuss their career or offer thoughts on yours. Most great leaders are driven by developing strong teams and people, and will nearly always be up for helping someone who is genuinely interested in their career.
(Image source: Niuton may)
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