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How to get a break in the industry

Posted 9th December 2009

Ollie Purdom, Director at Pitch Consultants and co-founder of B-Hive, shares his thoughts on how students can get a foot on the industry ladder.

In the past few weeks I've had numerous emails from students across the country asking how to go about getting into the PR industry. Clearly, if you're studying at, or just graduated from, a Birmingham Uni then you should enter B-Hive. But if you want general advice, here are my thoughts.

NB: This may be geared to PR but if you're a marketer or a designer, the same principles apply so read on.

Make no mistake, this is a tough industry to get into, but once you’ve got a foot on the ladder you’ve cracked the toughest bit. So you need to be persistent. 

Contact as many PR agencies as you can regarding work experience, offer to work for free (this will be expected more often than not), write blogs/comment pieces and then tell people about them.

Agencies are always very busy and they get a lot of approaches from students - it's not that they don't want to hear from you, it's just that you need to try to find an angle that makes them notice you. It's a bit like being in PR - journalists are constantly deluged with releases from PRs and only pick up on stories that are well positioned, have an interesting angle or approach etc. 

In this day and age, an online blog is a must - it gives people a chance to see your writing style and how you articulate stories or opinions. But you must follow things up - call, tell them you'll be emailing your CV and some work samples, call again. If they don't answer or are "in meetings", leave it a couple of days and call again. 

I'm not advocating turning into a stalker but you get the picture - persistence is key.

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