Are you looking for advice on how to get a job in digital PR and marketing? Our Graduate Digital PR Executive, Laura Kirton, is on hand to help. Laura joined our SEO team after completing her PR with Journalism degree – and has really thrown herself into agency life. But what advice does Laura have for those thinking about how to take their very first steps onto the career ladder? Let’s find out…
Studying PR at University
I began studying Public Relations with Journalism at Leeds Beckett University, still not quite sure which branch of marketing was for me whilst wanting to follow my passion for writing, my love of communicating and a burning desire to utilise my creative spark. I soon found that Digital PR was the career for me, as the modules that involved developing campaigns for digital agencies satisfied that creative craving. Over three years at university I studied a variety of modules, from crisis communication to personal branding, which gave me great insight into the different elements of public relations – and believe me, there are many more than I ever imagined!
There is no doubt that studying Public Relations at University for three years built the foundations I needed to land myself a job in the digital marketing industry. Without the skills and knowledge I learned and – more importantly – the connections I made, I find it difficult to see any alternative route into this industry. However, there is definitely more to just having the degree under your belt if you want to succeed in this industry!
Whilst I felt I was definitely becoming well equipped with the basics of Public Relations, I was aware of the importance of dipping my toes into different elements of the industry to prepare myself for post-university job hunting. After all, it’s better to find out what you enjoy in a real life working environment as a student than after you’ve signed away your weekdays to a job you hate. So off I went to explore the real world of digital marketing.
Building Connections and Getting Real Life Experience
As I began realising how competitive and diverse this industry is, my determination to be a part of the marketing world led me down the road to unpaid internships. I wanted to gain a range of experience within a variety of businesses to give myself a well-rounded view of which industry or sector I would enjoy the most. In my eyes, if you enjoy a job when you’re not being paid for it you’re going to enjoy it when you’re employed!
It can be daunting, to say the least, to reach out to people as a student and ask them to let you into their business and soak up the experience they have to share, but offering to work for free really can work as a win-win for both the employer and student. Try reaching out on LinkedIn, Twitter or browsing job advertisements and emailing employers.
Getting that hands-on real life experience alongside a relevant university degree is, I would say, absolutely essential before starting to begin a career in the marketing industry. Not only do you build all-important skills, knowledge and connections, but the confidence you build to prepare yourself for that first day in the office is invaluable – and a great deterrent from imposter syndrome!
Getting A Job With Flaunt Digital
All of a sudden three years of university was over and the job hunting began. After browsing and dismissing multiple mediocre marketing jobs, my luck changed when I stumbled across an advertisement on Indeed for a graduate PR and SEO role at Flaunt Digital. I was elated to see such a great graduate role being advertised and, after browsing through the impressive client stories at Flaunt Digital, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.
After having an extremely entertaining (virtual – thank you COVID-19) first interview with Director of Natural Search, Thom Waston, I got a real feel for what working for Flaunt Digital could be like and was even more determined to work as part of this fun and creative team. I was thrilled to be invited to a second interview, where I took the initiative to talk through a portfolio of my work which contained a mixture of university projects and items from various internships. Evidently this impressed my interviewers as they offered me the job there and then which I of course accepted without hesitation.
My manager, Head of PR, Lora Thornton said, “The sheer variety of internships and placements Laura had undertaken really stood out to us during the interview process. Her determination to gain real-world experience in the industry during a very trying final year of university during lockdown really demonstrated her passion and commitment to begin a career in PR. She is a valued member of the PR team and brings her enthusiasm and passion to the team every day!”
My Time in Digital PR So Far
Summed up, my first few months working for a digital marketing agency have been filled with asking an abundance of questions, improving my time management skills, trial and error and a lot of coffee. Seriously I have been thrown in at the deep end in my first few months but the beauty of a graduate role is there are no expectations to be perfect as long as you’re willing to work hard and determined to learn. Working within a smaller size agency also means I have had amazing opportunities thrown at me which has elevated my skills at an exceptional pace.
Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of software that is used in digital marketing – I’m not sure why none of this was covered at university – but it’s a good job the Gen Z in me can cope with numerous complex digital software. Another thing I admit I was naive about upon entering the digital marketing world is numbers. As an English-savvy, book-loving, math-hating individual, working with numbers was never on the cards for me so getting my head around statistics has not been light work. I’m talking about you, Google Analytics! But it is extremely rewarding when using these different types of software to see how your efforts have been effective in improving keyword ranking and traffic to client websites.
My proudest moments so far have been pitching campaign ideas to clients within my first few weeks, writing a variety of different types of copy and brainstorming creative campaign ideas which have been favoured by clients.
So far, working with the talented team at Flaunt Digital has made for a smooth transition from full-time education to the working world. Working as part of a close-knit team means everyone is always on hand to help each other out and answer my questions and queries. As a graduate, being involved in an agency that is so passionate about their clients and results has definitely set the correct tone for my marketing career.
To find out what life’s really like behind-the-scenes at Flaunt Digital, follow us on Instagram.